Notes to broadcasters
Muskuwaari is a word in the Fulfulde language which refers to dry season sorghum which is transplanted at the end of the rainy season. Common varieties of muskuwaari include safraari, majeeri, burguuri and ajagamaari.
Muskuwaari is grown over a wide area stretching from Nigeria to Sudan. In Nigeria, it is called masakwa, in Chad, berbere.
For more on growing muskuwaari and the benefits of muskuwaari, see item #9 in this Resource Pack, including the Notes to broadcaster.
This script talks about how to store harvested muskuwaari. It talks more specifically about how to store muskuwaari and other grain crops in a hot dry climate in ways that keep the grains safe from insect pests, rodents and disease. It also talks more generally about pest control in the growing muskuwaari plant.
The script also gives details on the main ways of processing muskuwaari – into porridge and into sorghum flour.
You might choose to present this script as part of your regular farming program, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people in the script.
You could also use this script as inspiration to research and develop a radio program on post-harvest handling of sorghum, on other dry season crops, or on other crops grown in harsh climates in your own area.
If you choose to use this script as inspiration for creating your own program, you could talk to farmers and other experts, and ask the following questions:
- How do farmers store their crops in this area?
- What steps should farmers take to ensure that their stored crops stay safe from insects, rodents and diseases while in storage?
- Are there challenges or barriers – financial, practical, etc. – to following these best practices? If so, have some farmers found ways to overcome these challenges and barries?
- How do farmers process sorghum in your area? What are the main processed foods?
What steps do farmers need to take to ensure that processed foods stay safe?
Apart from speaking directly to farmers and other key players in the local agriculture sector, you could use these questions as the basis for a phone-in or text-in program. Please ensure that you talk to both men and women about these issues. Women and men may have very different perspectives.
Estimated running time for this script is 15 minutes, including intro and outro.
Thanks to the farmers’ group they established, these farmers operate a warehouse in Salack, the nearest town to Yonkolé. First of all, let’s meet with the manager of the warehouse in Salack.
Good morning. Please, can you introduce yourself to our listeners?
When they return to get their bags, I also write down the date and the number of bags they take. I make sure that nobody takes anyone else’s bags. At the end of the day, I close the warehouse and keep the keys. I also inform others when there are problems, such as a leak in the roof.
Part of the 500 franc fee paid by members is used to buy insecticides, and the other part is kept for potential problems, such as a leaky roof or a padlock that needs to be changed. I was chosen to hold this position because I am one of the few people who know how to read and write.SOMEONE IS KNOCKING AT THE DOOR. GREETINGS.
But if you want to make porridge for a baby, you must first soak the grains for two days before crushing them. This creates a paste, which you then use to make porridge.
You can also make a local beer called bil bil. In this case, the process is longer and more difficult. You must soak the grains in enough water to fully cover them for a few days and then grind them. After grinding them, you brew the grain in water to which you add other ingredients such as a small amount of alcohol and bark from specific trees. Later, you filter the mixture to collect the beer. All the processing work is done by hand, except when you use a mill to crush the grains.
So, we process the grains just before we need to prepare our food. You cannot store the paste used to make porridge for very long either. After two days, the paste starts to ferment and the porridge tastes sour. You can store the paste for one month or more in a refrigerator, but we don’t have a fridge.SOUND OF A MOTORBIKE, WHICH RUMBLES AND STOPS. FOOTSTEPS COMING TOWARDS THE WAREHOUSE. GREETINGS.
In fact, farmers should start protecting the muskuwaari crop when plants are still in the nursery because the eggs laid in the nursery will continue to develop after transplanting and have major impacts on crop yield. Pod borers cause poor grain filling and a lack of seedheads.
After transplanting, the eggs hatch out into caterpillars which pierce the stalks. They take refuge, feed and grow inside the stems, up to their maturity when grains have become hard. Then the adults emerge to parasitize the rainfed sorghum and muskuwaari.
If treatment is effective in the nursery, farmers can treat each stalk again at the transplanting stage, at the beginning of blossoming, and at the heading stage to make sure that no pests affect the yield.
We recommend that farmers follow strict hygiene measures. For example, the storage site should be regularly swept and cleaned, and the doors should be opened to ventilate the site, and to avoid mould, weevils and rodents such as rats and mice.
In this hot, dry climate where weather conditions provide everyone with solar drying, I think it is more practical to let grain mature in the field and to let the crop dry well before storing it – and to process small quantities for the needs of the family.
Storing grains as a group saves individual farmers the time of conducting regular monitoring of storage sites and practicing good hygiene. It is well worth the little money that it costs farmers to entrust the storage tasks which protect stored muskuwaari from the main storage pests of rodents to a warehouse manager
Contributed by: Anne Mireille Nzouankeu, freelance journalist, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Reviewed by: Carine Mala, Assistant Professor, University of Maroua, Cameroon
Mvoungou Samuel: sorghum farmer, October 17, 2014
Agathe Koulsoumi: sorghum farmer, October 17, 2014
Issa Mbourou: sorghum farmer, October 17, 2014
Carine Mala: teacher and scientist at the Faculty of Science of Maroua University, October 16, 2014
This script was written with the support of Irish Aid.