Notes to broadcasters
Cowpea is a very important legume crop in Ghana, and elsewhere in West Africa. It’s an important and cheap source of protein for rural and urban families. Indeed, cowpea is often referred to as “the poor man’s meat” because it contains a lot of protein.
Livestock production is a very important aspect of agriculture in Ghana, and a major source of income for farmers. Livestock provide quick income that helps individuals meet their financial needs. There are very few feed manufacturers in Ghana, and most focus on poultry. Feed prices vary from one shop to another, but prices range between GHC10 to GHC50 for a back of animal feed, depending on the quantity and nutritional value of the feed. In rural areas, there is little or no supply of feed, and feed costs may be double because of the cost of transportation from urban to rural areas. As a result, rural farmers tend to release their animals to find food for themselves, which does not guarantee adequate and balanced nutrition for the animals.
This script gives a detailed account on how to feed goats and sheep with cowpea residues, the benefits and challenges of doing so, and the solutions to these challenges. It also describes how to carefully prepare cowpea residues for the animals in order to maximize their growth. How well the animals grow determines the wealth of a farmer, and the ability of individuals who raise and sell animals to support themselves and their families.
You might choose to produce this script on your station, 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 sources of nutritious and affordable feed for domestic livestock. Talk to farmers and experts who are dealing with these challenges. You might ask them:
What difficulties do you experience with feeding livestock in this area?
Do farmers ever feed cowpea residues to their domestic animals? What has been the result?
Are there challenges to feeding cowpea residues to animals in your area?
Have some farmers or experts suggested or tried solutions to these challenges?
As well as 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.
Estimated running time: 15 minutes, with intro and outro music.
WAREWAA: 41-year-old small-scale farmer who raises goats and sheep and owns a cowpea farm
NANAAMA: 35-year-old cowpea farmer and Warewaa’s close friend
NANCY: extension officer posted to Beduase
KOOFORI: 55-year-old small-scale farmer.
NANA (CHIEF): 67-year-old chief of Beduase town
SPEAKERS: Voices of townsfolk
It is true that my farm suffered a crisis, and I have been struggling for some time. But things are very different now. I can see that the men gathered here did not do their homework well. I want to ask if any of them has been to my farm lately. (Pause, no answer) I thought as much.
My farm has improved drastically over the past three weeks. My sheep and goats are well-fed, and they have fully recovered from their hunger crisis.
Thank you, my daughter. We all know how difficult it is to find food for our livestock. Even the strongest men in this village struggle to get nutritious food for their farm animals. Now tell us: how did you do it?
This is good for us; everyone here owns either a maize farm or a cowpea farm—or both. The women with cowpea farms can sell the feed to the men who own livestock for a good fee.
I only said women because most of the women in this community own a cowpea farm, while most of the men raise livestock. Not many men raise both crops and livestock like I do. But anybody can do this work for a small fee.
I didn’t get all this information on my own. I spoke to some people who advised me to see the new extension officer for our community. You can visit her for confirmation.
But let’s not drift from the topic at hand … Warewaa, how can we use cowpea residues as a source of income?
The good news is that we no longer need to buy protein-rich feed from other communities; the cowpea haulms can be a very good source of protein. Cowpea residues may not be available all year round, but they can be supplemented with other sources of livestock feed—like maize residues.
But I will not take any more of your time. You can visit Madam Nancy for more information.
Nana, this is my reply to our dear Koofori. I rest my case.
Contributed by: Abena Dansoa Danso, Farm Radio International, Ghana office
Reviewed by: Prof. Samuel Adjei-Nsiah, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Tamale, Ghana
Danley Colecraft Aidoo, Department of Agricultural extension, University of Ghana, March 3, 2016
Michael P. Timko. Jeff D. Ehlers, and Philip A. Roberts, 2007. Cowpea. Chapter 3, in Genome Mapping and Molecular Breeding in Plants, Volume 3 Pulses, Sugar and Tuber Crops, C. Kole (Ed.) Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2007. http://faculty.virginia.edu/timko/pdfs/Timko%20et%20al%20(2007)%20Chapter%203%20Cowpea.pdf
O.B. Smith, 1987. Utilization of crop residues in the nutrition of sheep and goats in the humid tropics of West Africa. In V.M. Timon and R.P. Baber, editors, Sheep and goat meat production in the humid tropics of West Africa. UN Food and Agricultural Organization. www.fao.org/docrep/004/s8374b/S8374b06.htm
United States Department of Agriculture, Sustainable Agricultural Research and Extension (SARE), 2012. Managing Cover Crops Profitably, 3rd edition. Downloadable from: http://www.sare.org/Learning-Center/Books/Managing-Cover-Crops-Profitably-3rd-Edition