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Script 66.10

Notes to broadcasters

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This is the final episode 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. The cast of five characters continues throughout the series, although not every character appears in each scene.

This episode emphasizes the importance of market information in farmers’ plans: whether to sell or store produce; what crops to plant. Farmers growing perishable crops have little choice about when to sell them. On the other hand, farmers producing grain crops or crops such as onions, potatoes and apples, may choose to store and sell later if prices are predicted to rise.

Consider broadcasting local market prices on a regular basis for the benefit of your listeners. You could get these prices from your government’s Market Information Service, from extension workers, or even collect them from the market yourself. For advice on how to do this contact the UN Food and Agriculture Organization at the addresses at the end of this script.

Script

Characters:

Bakari:
Farmer (aged early 30s)
Isoke:
Farmer, Bakari’s wife (aged early 20s)
INTRO

THEME MUSIC AND HOLD UNDER ANNOUNCER.

Host
– It’s time now for the final episode of “To Market, To Market,” our series about understanding and using market information. Today, farmers Bakari and Isoke use market information provided by the extension agent to plan ahead. They also think of a way to get accurate market information on a regular basis.

FADE OUT THEME MUSIC.

Isoke
-(shouting) Bakari — come quickly! I have some news.

SOUND OF FOOTSTEPS RUNNING.

Bakari
-(out of breath) What’s all the excitement?

Isoke
-The extension agent has just been to visit. I wanted him to wait for you, but he couldn’t stay. He had to start back on the road before dark.

Bakari
-So, what did he say?

Isoke
-I told him we had lost some money, but that we still have some grain to sell. He said we should wait before we sell the rest of our grain.

Bakari
-What? You mean we shouldn’t sell it now?

Isoke
-No. Not right away. He says the price of grain will be rising soon.

Bakari
-Did he say why?

Isoke
-He said it was because there will be a short supply in a few months. There has been a drought in the east of the country and their harvest has been poor.

Bakari
-I see what you’re saying. If we wait a while, there will be little grain left in the marketplace, and we can sell for a higher price.

Isoke
-Yes, exactly. But how are we going to store our surplus grain in the meantime?

Bakari
-Well…I think we will have to build a bigger grain store.

Isoke
-But that will cost money. If we have to spend money on building a grain store, I’m not sure if we will make a profit — even if we get higher prices later on. Remember what happened when we forgot to consider the costs of taking produce to the city market?

Bakari
-Yes, of course you’re right. Before we decide to store, we have to calculate how much it will cost to store our crop. That includes the cost of building a new store. But don’t forget that we can use that store for many years, not just this year.

Isoke
-Yes, let’s talk with the extension agent again to get more information about those costs.

MUSICAL BREAK.

Isoke
– Bakari, I’ve been thinking. The extension agent says he gets regular, reliable market prices from the government. With that information he has some good ideas about what new crops farmers should be growing.

Bakari
-Hmmm. Perhaps he could supply us with prices on a regular basis so we can decide what crops to grow and when to sell. We should choose crops that we know how to grow and which sell for good prices.

Isoke
-But how? He visits only twice a year. That is not often enough. We need price information more regularly than that.

Bakari
-Yes. If only there was some other way to get information on a regular basis.

SUDDEN SOUND OF A LOUD VOICE ON A LOUDSPEAKER.

Bakari
-What is that noise – such a loud racket!

Isoke
-It’s the local radio station. They have a new van with a loudspeaker that travels from village to village. They have started to broadcast the news and do advertising.

Bakari
-Oh, that’s what it is… I see. Hmmm. That gives me an idea.

Isoke
-Bakari. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Bakari
-I don’t know. I’m thinking that I won’t be able to hear the popular music on my favorite radio station because of the racket from that village station.

Isoke
-No! I’m thinking we should listen to our local radio station. They have a community affairs program, and they often discuss farming issues. Perhaps they give the prices for farm produce! If they don’t, perhaps we could ask them to do so. If we listen to the farm information every day, it would be like having an extension agent in our own home!

Bakari
-And, we could compare the information on the radio with what our trader Tabansi tells us, too. I still don’t really trust that man. My dear wife, I think this is a brilliant idea! Turn on the radio!
EXTRO

Host
-You’ve just heard the final episode in “To Market, To Market,” a series about using and understanding market information. (Insert name of performer) was Bakari and ____________ was Isoke. For more programs about farming, stay tuned to [name of your radio station].

Acknowledgements

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.

Information Sources

Understanding and using market information, by Andrew W. Shepherd, 2000. Agricultural Support Systems Division, Food and Agriculture Organization, Viale delle Terme de Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. E-mail: AGS-Registry@fao.org, URL: http://www.fao.org/ag/ags/AGSM/unmis/unmis.htm