Notes to broadcasters
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Some traditional crops are central to the culture and survival of a community of people. And the way farmers cultivate, store and propagate crops is an important part of conserving plant biodiversity in any particular region. Broadcasters can play a role in helping farmers recognize the value of their local traditional crops.
This story is about an important traditional crop for farmers in eastern Nigeria – the fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis). The fluted pumpkin is used as a leafy green vegetable and grows in several African countries. Its name, fluted, refers to the shape of the female flower.
To accompany or follow up this script:
- Run a weekly series about important traditional crops in your broadcast region, including interviews with farmers about how they grow and use these crops.
- Ask listeners to send in recipes using traditional foods.
- Discuss the importance of traditional crops in broadening and diversifying the local food base.
Host 1 (Intro):
Welcome to our program. We are your hosts, [Name/Voice of Host 1
], and [Name/Voice of Host 2
]. Today we’re going to talk about the importance of traditional crops. Many farmers in our region are looking for new crops to grow, and ways to make more money. Sometimes when we think about new crops, we forget the value of our local crops – traditional crops that have been cultivated in our region for generations.
We must not forget the value and benefits of these crops. For example, some local crops grow in dry soils, and don’t need as much water as introduced crops. And traditional crops can be very nutritious.
Today we’re going to introduce you to one of these crops – a traditional crop that grows in Nigeria called the fluted pumpkin.
The information we’re going to share with you comes from Mr. Samuel Ugochukwu, of Nigeria.
According to Mr. Ugochukwu, the fluted pumpkin is a very popular crop with farmers in his region. In the local language it’s called “Ularbitapepo”.
We should tell listeners why the fluted pumpkin is so popular in Nigeria.
First, farmers grow and sell this crop all year round.
That’s right. The crop thrives in the rainy season. During the dry season, farmers cultivate the pumpkins at the edge of the river.
The soil in river areas is fertile, and farmers channel water from the river to the beds where the pumpkins are growing.
The fluted pumpkin is often interplanted with melon, maize or cassava. Some farmers grow it with yams, and they use the stakes for the yams to support the pumpkins too.
The pumpkins grow on flat land or on mounds. In home gardens they climb along fences or tree branches. Then you can see the fruit hanging from the fence or branches of the tree.
And I’ll tell you something else. These plants grow quickly. Just one month after planting, farmers harvest and sell the leaves in bunches at the market. In the dry season the price of the crop is twice the normal price. So that’s a real benefit.
And this is a nutritious vegetable too. The leaf is a good source of protein. And the seeds can also be cooked and eaten.
But, there’s one part of this plant that should never be eaten – and that is the root. The root of the fluted pumpkin is poisonous.
So, farmers make money selling the leaves and seeds. Is that right?
Yes… and like many traditional crops, the fluted pumpkin also has medicinal uses.
So it really is a valuable local crop – with many uses and benefits. I’d like to thank Mr. Ugochukwu, of Nigeria, for sharing this information about an important traditional crop – the fluted pumpkin.
What are the important local crops here in our community? And what are their uses? If you’re cultivating a traditional crop and you want to share what you know with other listeners, please contact us here at radio station __________. Thanks for tuning in today.
– END –
- Contributed by Jennifer Pittet, Thornbury, Canada.
- Reviewed by Peter Leyenaar, Coordinator, International Program Development, Kemptville College Business Development Centre, Kemptville, Ontario, Canada.
- Correspondence with Mr. Samuel Ugochukwu, Nigeria. Partner, Developing Countries Farm Radio Network.
- Schippers, R.R. African indigenous vegetables: An overview of the cultivated species. Natural Resources Institute, 2000.