Notes to broadcasters
Maize is Ghana’s most widely cultivated crop, and accounts for at least half of total cereal production in the country. It is a major source of food, feed, and cash for many households. Maize accounts for almost half of the agricultural cash income among small-scale food crop farmers in the country. Maize is the main component in poultry and livestock feed, and is becoming a substitute in the malt drink brewing industry.
The area of maize planted has been increasing in recent years. The current area is approximately 1 million ha, and the average yield is about 1.75 metric tons per hectare. There is a large gap between the current yield and the maximum achievable on-farm, about 4-6 metric tons per hectare. Drought, infestation by Striga, use of low-yielding varieties, and declining soil fertility are among the major causes of low yield of maize in Ghana.
In 2005, the average Ghanaian consumed an estimated 44 kilos of maize per year. Ghana is a net importer of maize, even though it has the potential to be both self-sufficient and an exporter.
Maize is grown throughout Ghana, but the leading producing areas are the middle belt and the northern part of the country. In the middle belt, maize is planted twice in a year— April/May in the major growing season and August/September in the minor growing season. In the north where millet and sorghum were the main cereals grown and consumed in the past, maize is increasingly replacing these grains.
Maize is the most important cereal crop on the domestic market in Ghana. Consumers have a strong preference for dried shelled corn. Producers usually sell to traders, mainly women, who come from city markets to collect the produce from the farm. The maize is then sold in urban wholesale and retail traditional markets.
This short drama talks about Akwesi Papa, a great farmer, who loves his profession so much that he introduces his high school son, Akwesi, to the business of farming. Even though Akwesi Papa is an experienced farmer, it is a challenge for him to manage and control pests. Akwesi Papa’s brother, John, invites him to a public lecture where an agronomist talks about effective farming techniques and how to reduce post-harvest losses, improve upon storage, and manage mould and aflatoxin in maize. Akwesi Papa comes home a better farmer.
You might choose to present this drama 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 involved in the interviews.
You could also use this script as research material or as inspiration for creating your own programming on growing maize or similar topics in your country.
Talk to farmers and experts who are growing maize and are knowledgeable about the crop, especially about managing pests in the field and in storage. You might ask them:
What challenges do farmers face with storing maize, especially with pests and diseases? Have some farmers devised solutions to these challenges that they could share on your program? What do extension agents and other experts say about these challenges?
Estimated running time for the script: 15 minutes, with intro and outro music.
At the public lecture
Keep the harvested grain as clean as possible. Dry your grains on a raised platform or on tarpaulins to prevent contamination. At home, don’t heap the cobs in a room, or in your kitchen or yard. This increases post-harvest losses. Transfer them to the drying place immediately. Never dry your maize on bare soil.
Once again, thank you, Mr. Osei, and to you, colleague farmers, for coming to listen to this insightful lecture. Let’s put these lessons into practice.
farming business more.
Contributed by: Francis X Mensah
Reviewed by: Prof. Samuel Adjei-Nsiah, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Tamale, Ghana
Interviews: Paul Asare Wiredu of Nkoranza South District Assembly. National Best Maize Farmer 2015, November 2015.
1. Ministry of Agriculture (Uganda), Animal Industry and Fisheries, National Agricultural Research Component, undated. Maize Harvesting and Post Harvest Handling. http://teca.fao.org/sites/default/files/technology_files/MAIZE%20HARVESTING%20AND%20POST%20HARVEST%20HANDLING.pdf
2. The Organic Farmer, The magazine for sustainable agriculture in Kenya, A simple way to test for moisture content in maize. http://theorganicfarmer.org/content/simple-way-test-moisture-maize