Notes to broadcasters
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This is the second part of a five-part series about understanding and using market information. With accurate market information farmers can decide what crops to grow, and where and when to sell in order to get the best prices.
Ideally these programs should be run as a series, for example, once a day for five days or once a week for five weeks. It may be necessary to adapt these programs using local names and situations to make them familiar and acceptable to your listeners who should be able to identify with the characters and understand their dilemmas.
The cast of five characters continues throughout the series, although not every character appears in each scene. In casting the roles of the characters, remember that the human ear does not distinguish very well between voices. Choose actors with different qualities to their voices so that listeners can quickly and easily identify which character is speaking. Work with the performers to emphasize vocal differences and speech patterns. The voices should correspond to the characters’ different ages.
This episode illustrates the laws of supply and demand. If there are large quantities of a certain product in the market – more supply than people can or will buy – then prices usually decrease. On the other hand, if demand is high or supply is low – if people want more of a product than is available – the price frequently goes up. Prices are often determined by how much of a product is on sale at any given time.
Farmer (aged early 30s)
Farmer, Bakari’s neighbour
THEME MUSIC AND HOLD UNDER ANNOUNCER.
-Farmers are always looking for ways to get the best prices for their crops. Today we present episode two of our radio drama series, “To Market, To Market,” a five-part series about understanding and using market information. In episode one we met husband and wife farmers Bakari and Isoke who realized they need accurate, up-to-date market information in order to make smart decisions about selling their crop. Today Bakari takes his produce to the traders’ market and learns that, unfortunately, his crop is not worth as much as he hoped.
FADE OUT THEME MUSIC.
KNOCK AT THE DOOR.
) Oh, Chege, my good neighbour, I’m so glad you’re home.
-Ah Bakari, my friend. It’s unusual to see you so early in the day. But you look upset. Is something wrong?
-Well, I have to go to town tomorrow but my cart broke down. By any chance are you going tomorrow? In the early morning?
-Isoke and I are no longer selling to the trader Tabansi. I want to go to the traders’ market to find out for myself what the prices are. So I should arrive early so I can get a good price.
-Well, you’re in luck. I do have to go to town tomorrow and you’re welcome to come. In fact, I don’t mind going to the traders’ market myself, to sell a few bags of grain.
-Perhaps the two of us together could get a better price.
-Yes, with our good climate and fertile soil, we can be certain that our produce is the highest quality. That’s one advantage we have over others.
-Okay then. I’ll meet you here tomorrow, early.
FADE IN MARKET SOUNDS (CONVERSATION IN A CROWD, VENDORS CALLING OUT). HOLD IN BACKGROUND UNDER DIALOGUE.
-We’re here so early even the cocks are still crowing! We can negotiate early and get a good price. (pause
) Ah! There’s Kengele, one of the traders.
SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS.
-Good morning, Kengele. This is my friend, Bakari. We’ve come very far from our village to bring our high quality grain to sell you this morning.
-Good morning, Mr. Chege, Mr. Bakari. Let me test the quality of your grain.
SOUND OF HAND MIXING GRAIN.
– Hmmm. Not bad. But certainly not the best grain I’ve ever tested.
-What? Are you saying this grain is not high quality?
-Come over here. Compare your grain to this, which I bought earlier today. Look! This grain is dry and clean. The moisture content of your grain is higher and there are lots of bits of stalk mixed up with it, so it is not worth as much.
-This is very bad news for me. But I need the money – so I must sell to somebody. What price can you offer?
-I’ll write my price down on this piece of paper so you can compare it to what other traders offer.
-Okay, let me have a look at that. What? But this price is very low.
-Take it or leave it. There are more than enough farmers ready to accept my prices.
-I don’t understand this. Do you have so much grain that you’re offering such low prices? Surely people haven’t stopped buying grain!
-Of course not. It’s because many more farmers are now growing the same crop. And the harvest was good. So there’s more grain on the market than we traders can handle.
) So, I am forced to take a low price. But I must sell my grain to somebody, so perhaps I will take the price you are offering. But first, let me check with some of the other traders.
END MARKET SOUNDS.
SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS (TWO PEOPLE WALKING TOGETHER).
-Bakari, what prices did the other traders offer?
-Every trader offered me exactly the same price for my grain!!
-But…how is that possible?
-I think all the traders must meet together early in the day, before the market opens, to agree on one price. Otherwise, how could they all offer the same price?
-Yes, you’re probably right. I worry that things will not improve for us Bakari. Maybe prices will be low again next year.
-I know. Isoke and I worried that we would not be able to send the children to school. Now I wonder if we will even be able to put food on the table!
-You’ve been listening to Episode 2 of “To Market, To Market.” (Insert name of performer) was Bakari, ____________ was Chege, and _____________ was Kengele. As their story shows, being aware of the laws of supply and demand can help farmers understand why prices for their crops rise and fall.
Contributed by Christine Davet, Toronto, Canada.
Reviewed by Adrian Mukhebi, Executive Director, Kenya Agricultural Commodity Exchange (KACE), Nairobi, Kenya and Andrew Shepherd, Agricultural Support Systems Division, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Rome.