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Script 100.7

Notes to broadcasters

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Growing and eating vegetables is an effective pathway to better health and better income. Vegetables are full of nutrients, and are a more affordable source of some nutrients than cereals or animal foods. Vegetables are easy to digest and easily eaten by children, the old and the sick. Vegetable production is well-suited to women farmers, who can both grow and sell vegetables profitably.

The script is based on an interview with Mrs. Apaikunda Anderson Pallangyo, a vegetable farmer in the Arusha Region of northern Tanzania. We also hear from a farm radio broadcaster and two other farmers.

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 involved in the interviews.

You could also use this script as research material or as inspiration for creating your own programming on growing and eating vegetables in your country.

Talk to vegetable growers and other experts. You might ask them:

  • What are the market opportunities for producing and selling vegetables in your community, region or country?
  • What are the major production and marketing challenges, and what solutions have farmers found to address these challenges?

You could also broadcast a program which invites farmers to phone in or text in questions and comments on vegetable production. You could invite an expert vegetable farmer or an extension agent to take questions and interact with the farmers in the audience.

Estimated running time for this script: 20-25 minutes, with intro and outro music

Script

Signature tune up then under

HOST:
Dear listener, welcome to the program. Today we will talk about the benefits of growing and eating vegetables.

Vegetables and fruits are part of a healthy diet. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, and can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and may protect against certain types of cancers. Diets which are rich in fibre can also reduce the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. And, apart from the health benefits, growing and selling vegetables can help a farmer kick away poverty in a short time. Stay tuned and listen to the story of a successful vegetable farmer.

Lazarus Laiser:
My name is Lazarus Laiser. I travelled thirty kilometres from the town of Arusha to the village of Kikwe. There, I met a woman farmer whose homestead is full of beautiful baobab and mango trees. There is a cool breeze, as if you were on the seashore. There are trees and grass where you can comfortably sit down. You can stand and pick fruit from the pawpaw, mango and orange trees.

Mama, can you please introduce yourself?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
My name is Mama Apaikunda Anderson Pallangyo. I am a vegetable farmer.

Lazarus Laiser:
When did you start farming?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
I started in 1969 when I was married. I used to farm with my husband. We grew maize, beans, peas and other crops.

Lazarus Laiser:
Tell me about your family.

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
My husband and I had four children. But unfortunately, he died when our children were very young. The firstborn had just finished primary school. That made my life really difficult. We depended on farming, but it was not paying at all. We harvested only three or four bags of maize, and depended on that as food, to pay school fees, and to buy clothes for the children. We didn’t even have a good house. It was built of mud and roofed with grass, and had only one room.

Lazarus Laiser:
Mama Apaikunda, can we visit your old house?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
Yes, you are welcome.

SFX: Footsteps fade in and under throughout the conversation.

Lazarus Laiser:
Dear listener, we are standing before an old one-room mud house thatched with grass. The door is poorly made with small pieces of rusted iron sheets. Tell me about your memories of this house, Mama Apaikunda.

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
This is where my husband and I started our life. It was not easy to build this house. It was difficult at that time even to get nails. We didn’t have a bed and used to sleep on the floor. Later, we made a bed with tree posts and grass for a mattress. We used firewood to cook on a three-stone stove.

We didn’t have light, so we used firewood if we wanted to go outside to look for something. Sometimes my husband burned a used car tire for light. That was good but it smelled bad and made a lot of smoke. Later the government introduced kerosene. This was good but you had to buy it, and it was expensive.

Lazarus Laiser:
What other challenges did you face?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
I was a frustrated wife. My husband was a drunkard. He drank local beer all day and stayed in a state of drunkenness. He sometimes failed to go to the farm because of that. So it was my own efforts that produced the little amount of maize we got every year. My children suffered a lot, because we didn’t have food, clothes or even a good house.

I decided to ask for help from other people and stop depending on my husband. I asked people to help me plant on time, asked for seeds to plant, and asked people how to plant beans and peas. This helped me get a little money for the children’s clothes and shoes for school. But they couldn’t go to secondary school because I was unable to pay the school fees.

After completing schooling, my firstborn joined me in farming. It was the only thing he could do and I asked him not to leave me because my husband’s situation was even worse.

Lazarus Laiser:
What happened after your firstborn finished school and joined you in farming?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
Things became worse. I was married in 1969 and my husband died in 1996, after almost 27 years. Life was horrible. He left me in a very difficult situation, with four male children and depending only on farming, which had never paid off. I was frustrated. But after his burial and three months of mourning, life had to continue. I told my children that we no longer had a father, and we would have to work hard to be able to live. We decided to start growing vegetables like some other villagers.

Lazarus Laiser:
What happened after your husband died?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
I faced a lot of challenges. I depended on the neighbours. Also, life became worse when my both parents died and left six children. I had no choice but to adopt them. They came to my house and we shared what little we had. Life was getting better, but having six extra children who needed to go to school, eat and dress was very hard. But because of the vegetables, I was able to take them to school, feed them and provide for all their needs.

Lazarus Laiser:
Why did you decide to get involved in vegetable farming?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
I thank God for our agricultural extension officer, Mama Halima Kilolo. She is the one who advised me to get into vegetable farming. She taught me that vegetable farming was much better than growing maize and beans, which we inherited from our elders. So I decided to change. I expanded my farm just for vegetable farming and I saw the benefits. Life started becoming easier.

Lazarus Laiser:
What changes did you make?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
I changed from growing maize and beans to vegetables which pay in the market. Also from rain-dependent farming to irrigated farming.

Lazarus Laiser:
What benefits did you receive from vegetable farming?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
We ate the vegetables. We became healthier. My children were stronger and more energetic. We didn’t get sick easily because of the vitamins we got from the vegetables. We got money easily and life started to be better. But the thing I really liked was the improvement in health because I didn’t have to spend money for the hospital.

Lazarus Laiser:
I understand that you listened to radio programs on Radio Five on improved vegetable growing. What changes did you make to your vegetable growing practices after listening to the radio?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
I used proper spacing in planting my vegetables. I rotated my crops every season. For example, I divided the farm into small plots and planted cabbages first and tomatoes the next season. This helped to avoid pests and diseases, retain soil fertility and improve the vegetables’ health. I also used natural farmyard manure which, from my experience, is more effective than industrial fertilizers. The only challenge is that it takes time to make it and you need a lot of it.

SFX SOUND OF DIGGING AND PLOUGHING

Lazarus Laiser:
Mama Apaikunda,have you faced challenges as a woman in vegetable farming?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
Yes, I faced a lot. In our tribe, women are seen as people to stay at home and take care of children. They are taught that they cannot do farming. But we are actually the ones who are doing farming in this country. When I started, they said you can’t do this work ─ leave it to men. But I said I will do what I can, and other women have followed me. I became a role model in this village.

Lazarus Laiser:
What kind of vegetables did you plant at first?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
We started with tomatoes, cabbages, Swiss chard, amaranth, and many others. It was good because we were able to sell them quickly and get a little money.

Lazarus Laiser:
How do you control pests in your vegetables?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
This was a big challenge before I listened to the radio. We used to just spray pesticides at any time. After we sprayed, we continued eating the vegetables. But today, we are taught how to use natural pesticides, and we also make them ourselves, which saves money. The benefit of natural pesticides is their safety. You can spray now and even eat after three or four days. Also, they don’t kill other organisms ─ like insects which control other insects.

The natural pesticides we use are cow urine, garlic, soap, and types of plants that scare the insects away like sunnhemp or marigold flowers. These are planted around the farm and between the rows to scare the insects.

Lazarus Laiser:
Do you use any alternatives to pesticides?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
Yes.We use ash. This is easy and costs nothing because we use firewood so have plenty of ash. It is also effective. We use it when I am waiting for my natural pesticide to be ready. Because making it takes three days or more.

Lazarus Laiser:
What else did you learn from the radio?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
I was taught how to plant my own seedlings to reduce the cost of buying them. After I buy seeds, I choose a fertile part of my farm and prepare it as a nursery. I add manure and water it. I plant my seeds in cold frames to reduce direct sunlight. I visit every day and water them.

Lazarus Laiser:
How do you transplant your seedlings from nurseries into the field?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
After the seeds germinate, I prepare my field by ploughing it, applying manure, and watering it. I transplant the seedlings to my farm when they are four weeks old or have two pairs of true leaves. The best time for transplanting is in the evening to ensure that the plants don’t dry up because our area is so sunny. After transplanting, I water again in the field.

HOST:
Robert Kishai Msengi is a farmer in the village of Msitu wa Mbogo. Our reporter Lazarus Laiser met him in the village. He is a father of four who was able to send his children to school up to university level through farming.

Lazarus Laiser:
Mr. Robert, what benefits have you received from vegetable farming?

ROBERT KISHAI:
All you see here is the product of vegetable farming. These solar panels worth three million shillings ($1730 U.S.) are a result of vegetables. All my children attended good expensive schools, and now some are in university. I didn’t need to look for a loan because I’m paying for them myself. This five-room modern house waiting to be roofed with South African iron sheets is from vegetables. It’s a long story because “my life is vegetables and vegetables are my life.”

Lazarus Laiser:
Apart from the benefits, what are some of the challenges you faced?

ROBERT KISHAI:
The big challenge is capital, in particular for farm tools. We lack that and also irrigation equipment.

Lazarus Laiser:
Mama Apaikunda, do you follow a seasonal farming calendar?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
Yes. On the radio, we are taught to follow the timing of the market. Also, there is a season with a lot of diseases. We were taught to avoid planting some vegetables during that season to avoid losing them. We were also taught to rotate vegetables. For example, I plant a different type of vegetables every week in my plots. This means I have vegetables all year.

HOST:
Clara Moita is a producer and presenter with Radio Five in Arusha. She produces a weekly farmer program. She was amazed to see how farmers’ lives improved as a result of the programs.

CLARA MOITA:
In conjunction with Farm Radio International, Radio Five started broadcasting a radio program called Fahari Yetu. This is aimed at small-scale farmers and broadcasts information about growing and eating vegetables.

Lazarus Laiser:
What did you teach the vegetable farmers to improve their farming?

CLARA MOITA:
I taught them to use good farming practices, including choosing a good plot to grow vegetables, and timing their vegetable planting to coincide with market demand. We also talked about fertilizers, seeds, and many more things.

Lazarus Laiser:
What are the results so far?

CLARA MOITA:
Many farmers have benefited a lot from the market information we broadcast every morning. They were linked to markets with good prices.

Lazarus Laiser:
Mama Apaikunda,what other benefits have you received from listening to the radio program on Radio Five?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
Sister Clara Moita, a presenter at Radio Five, announces the market price of vegetables and I take the vegetables to the market. Selling my produce in the market myself helped me get a lot more money compared to when buyers come to the farm.

I also learned how to preserve vegetables. In the past, if you didn’t have vegetables in the garden, then you had none to eat. But the radio taught us to preserve vegetables so we can eat when we’re not growing them on the farm.

We are also taught how to cook them. We used to boil them for a long time, until the vitamins were destroyed. Today, we know how to cook them well.

Another benefit is my goats. I bought milk goats, and I get two litres a day.

Lazarus Laiser:
You have mentioned many successes and benefits, but what are some of the challenges?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
First of all are the diseases in my vegetables. I didn’t know how to treat them ─ and even the agricultural extension officer had to do research into new diseases. Insects and other pests that destroy the vegetables are also a challenge. Sometimes we see insects and think maybe they are good, but tomorrow they have destroyed your plants.

Another challenge is that we don’t have a reliable market for our produce. Sometimes Radio Five says today’s market price is this many shillings. But when you go to the market, you are paid a different and lower price. This frustrates me.

But all in all, there is a better market today because of radio. If you have half an acre of vegetables, you can make up to 1,000 dollars.

Another challenge is the high cost of labourers. There are tasks which I cannot do ─ like digging the farm and irrigation. Irrigation in the night is also difficult. We need to employ someone to do these jobs and they charge a lot of money.

And another challenge is capital. Sometimes you might want to use your one acre to plant tomatoes, but you can’t because you don’t have enough money for seeds, fertilizer, transport, labour and many other things.

SFX: WATERING PLANTS

Lazarus Laiser:
Congratulations, Mama Apaikunda. You have been able to feed your children, dress them, take them to school, build your modern house and rainwater harvesting tank, solar panels, and purchase goats and cows. All as a result of vegetable farming. I am now speaking to a young man, Mama Apaikunda’s son. He also has a story to tell.

GABRIEL PALLANGYO:
I am Gabriel Pallangyo. I joined my mother in farming immediately after I finished school. I am so happy because, though we were brought up poor, today we are not poor.

Lazarus Laiser:
Which challenges did you face?

GABRIEL PALLANGYO:
Challenges were many and we still face challenges. For example, I have prepared this farm for planting tomatoes. This is one acre and it needs a lot of seeds. It also needs fertilizer and I don’t have enough money for that. So I have to go to the seed dealer and take a loan. After I harvest, I pay back the loan with interest. It is like we are dividing the profit. This is a big challenge. We need help on how to get our own capital. If the government gave us loans without interest, we could change our lives quickly.

Lazarus Laiser:
Mama Apaikunda, what is your recommendation to farmers about growing vegetables?

MAMA APAIKUNDA:
I advise them to start doing it! Vegetables pay more than beans, maize and other long-term crops. Vegetables help you get money quickly; you get money every day. And, with the help of radio, there is a market these days.

HOST:
Thanks for being with us today, listeners. You have heard how growing vegetables and using improved growing practices has brought Mama Apaikunda and other farmers from poverty to success. Perhaps it is time for you too to consider growing vegetables for the market.

This is (name of host) saying goodbye until next week.

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Pr. Lazarus S. Laiser Journalist/Trainer, Habari Maalum College, Arusha, Tanzania.
Reviewed by: Hassan S. Mndiga, Training and Outreach Coordinator, World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), Arusha, Tanzania.

Information Sources

Interviews with:
Apaikunda Anderson Pallangyo, farmer, Kikwe village, Arusha, Tanzania, October 21, 2014
Gabriel Anderson Pallangyo, farmer, Kikwe village, Arusha, Tanzania, October 21, 2014
Clara N. Moita, Radio 5 presenter and producer of Fahari Yangu program, Arusha, Tanzania, October 21, 2014
Robert Kishai Msengi, farmer, Msitu wa Mbogo village, Arusha, Tanzania, October 21, 2014