Burundi agriculture journalist John de Dieu Ininahazwe writes in a report for the International Federation of Agriculture Journalists that many journalists have fled the country in fear of their lives. He himself was caught doing an agriculture report in July, his notebook and recorder were confiscated. He was interrogated for three hours then let go. He doesn’t know why he was lucky to be freed when others were killed. He writes that farmers are suffering because of lack of knowledge. They have good rains this year, good crops, but don’t know where the markets are. There is written information available, by newspaper, but a good part of the small farmers which make up most of Burundi’s agriculture don’t read. Farm radio is vital to their business.
I get angry when I think of what it took to build up these radio programs; what it came to mean for farmers; how it improved their livelihood. And then it is just killed. The program and the journalists. John de Dieu Ininahazwe says they will keep fighting. Reminds me of words said in Paris after the Terror attacks. People of courage won’t let evil win as long as there is anything they can do about it. My hat off to you, John.