Notes to broadcasters
Fava bean (called faba bean in Ethiopia) is a staple food in the country, and is known as broad bean or field bean in some other countries. This legume contributes to soil fertility by fixing nitrogen, making it useful in rotation with staple cereal crops like wheat or teff.
The average yield for fava bean in Ethiopia is 1,800 kgs per hectare, though some farmers produce up to 4,800 kilos. Ethiopian farmers prefer silt soils or red, sandy soils for growing fava beans. Some of the major challenges to fava bean production in Ethiopia are: insect pests, diseases, inadequate seed, weeds, soil infertility, and waterlogged soils.
This script discusses how Ethiopian farmers prepare their land for the planting season, including preparing compost, measuring for row planting, and ploughing. In Ethiopia, some fava bean farmers plough their fava bean fields three times, though others plough less often.
The script also mentions inoculants, which are sometimes used when planting legumes. These are products that are mixed with seeds at planting time. Inoculants contain living organisms which promote plant growth by increasing the availability of important soil nutrients.
This script is based on actual interviews. You might choose to present this script as part of your farmer program, using voice actors to play the different roles. 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.
Or you may chose to use this script as research material for your own story on land preparation—for beans or any other crop.
Talk to farmers who have had successful fava bean harvests, asking:
- What land preparation practices are most important?
- What are you doing to ensure soil fertility?
- Do you plough your land? If not, why not? If you do, how many times do you plough your land? Why?
- When do you do these practices? How do you know when to begin land preparation?
Estimated running time for this script is 10-15 minutes with intro and extro.
It’s the first week of June and it’s almost time to plant fava beans. So I’m speaking with Yohannes Kelile and Askale Kasaye about how they are preparing their land. This is a hilly area, where the soil—and what’s being grown—varies with each slope.
A small cluster of buildings sits below one hill, beside a paved roadway. Here I meet with farmer Yohannes Kelile, and with the development agent, Negesse Woldemariam.
Yohannes, how much land are you planning to grow fava beans on?
Before, I had to hire 30 people to plough one hectare of land, paying them each 100 birr [$4.25 US] per day. But now I just need one person to help me for one day each time I want to plough.
In this area, the soil can vary a lot from place to place. Plots on the hills, at higher elevation, will have different soils than plots lower down or in the valley. Farmers in this area have plots of land in each of these different areas, rather than only in one place.
Welcome to Mrs. Askale Kasaye, another farmer in Bakelo kebele. You have contributed to the farmer program on fava beans airing on Fana FM in Ethiopia. What advice are you sharing with fava bean farmers?
With fava bean, farmers are using composted manure, NPS, and inoculants. In other places in the country, farmers are also using blended fertilizer—which is fertilizer blended particularly for the soil needs in their area. The farmers here have heard of blended fertilizer and they want to use it, but there’s none available at the moment.
hese farmers are well educated about farming practices and have diversified businesses, with dairy cows, irrigated vegetable farming, and also the barley, wheat, peas, and beans rotation that you heard about. I think these farmers are doing well.
Contributed by: Kathryn Burnham, Resource Production, Distribution, and Evaluation Coordinator, FRI
Reviewed by: Mlesse Temesgen, General Manager, Aybar Engineering PLC, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Yohannes Kelile, farmer in Bakelo kebele, Amhara Region, June 9, 2017
Askale Kasaye, farmer in Bakelo kebele, Amhara Region, June 9, 2017
Beyene Eshete, farmer in Bakelo kebele, Amhara Region, June 9, 2017
Negesse Woldemariam, development agent in Bakelo kebele, Amhara Region, June 9, 2017
Tefera Gonfa, Fodu Gora kebele, Oromia Region, June 12, 2017
Dawit Getahun, development agent in Fodu Gora kebele, Oromia Region, June 12, 2017
This script was created with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through the Staples project in Ethiopia.