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Script 74.5

Notes to broadcasters

The dry season can be hard on livestock and the people who keep livestock. Animals might get sick and start to lose weight if they don’t get a good and varied diet. One way for farmers to supplement livestock feed is by growing ‘fodder trees.’ Fodder trees and shrubs can supply nutritious livestock feed all year.

Farmers can plant multi purpose trees with foliage that yields fodder and seeds for livestock, and even seeds and fruits that can be used as food for humans. Typical examples of such trees in Southern Africa are: Acacia robusta (Robust thorn, Enkeldoring, umNgamanzi), Acacia tortillas (Umbrella thorn, Haak-en-Steek, umSasane), Carissa macrocarpa (Natal plum, amatungulu), Acacia albida (Anaboom, umHlalankwazi), and Olea africana (Wild Olive, Olienhout, umNqumo). (Note: Common names in brackets are in English, Afrikaans and Zulu.)

Remind farmers to be careful when experimenting with new feeds. Advise them to consult local specialists and other farmers. If possible, provide addresses and telephone numbers of extension officers and nurseries, and encourage enquiries from listeners. Programs should never be seen as “stand-alone.”

Script

SOUND OF CAR DRIVING UP AND STOPPING. DOORS SLAM. DOGS BARK. FOOTSTEPS RUNNING.

Sarah:
Oh Sipho! What a long time! Just look at you. Such a smart car and such a nice tie! Have they put you in parliament already?

Sipho:
Hullo auntie! No, no, they haven’t put me in parliament. They say I am too honest! But I did find something that I think you might like. Here, in this parcel.

SOUND OF PARCEL BEING UNWRAPPED.

Sarah:
A scarf! A red scarf! Whoa! Just see me at the church this Sunday!

Jakob:
Come young man. Remember that I called you here for a reason. We have work to do! You can talk to your favourite aunt later.

FADE IN RURAL SOUNDS. COWS LOWING. ROOSTER CROWING. A DOG BARKS FAR AWAY. HOLD UNDER DIALOGUE.

Sipho:
Now what’s the problem uncle?

Jakob:
Just look round you, Sipho…and you can see the condition of our goats and our cows.

Sipho:
It’s true. They look sickly. What are you feeding them?

Jakob:
I usually feed grain. But my supply has run out. And being the dry season, there is not much grass or fodder to eat.

Sipho:
So probably your animals aren’t getting the nutrients that they need. Look uncle, I have a suggestion. There are shrubs and trees with leaves and seedpods that you can use to feed your animals. You can sometimes even make a nice soup with the seedpods, auntie.

Sarah:
That sounds nice. You can come and eat it with us!

Jakob:
We haven’t even planted the trees yet! What is the plan, Sipho? Where do I find these trees and how do I plant them?

Sipho:
It’s called alley planting. Or a fodder hedge. You plant the trees about five metres apart in straight rows across the slope of your land. Then in between the rows you can sow your crops or grow fruit trees. The trees will protect your crops from frost, and it will stop the soil from being washed away. Cut the branches and use them for firewood. You can use the leaves and the seeds for livestock feed, whenever it is needed.

Jakob:
You mean you never chop these trees down?

Sipho:
No uncle. That’s the difference. These are trees that you never chop down. They are like your shops. When you need extra fodder you simply go to them. When you want to make soup, you simply go to your shop.

Sarah:
We can call them our tree shop.

Sipho:
And the prices never go up, and the shelves are never empty.

Jakob:
I like this alley planting. But how soon can we start using the trees after we plant them?

Sipho:
Well, it usually takes at least one to two seasons depending on the type of tree. That’s not so long. Just ask the people at the nursery which trees they recommend for this region. Fodder trees! Just ask them.

Sarah:
I hope you can stay for tea, Sipho.

Sipho:
I’m sorry auntie…but I must go. I need to stop at the shop to buy food. Food is so expensive. I wish your tree shop were here already, so that I could have some delicious cheap soup!!

FOOTSTEPS. SOUND OF CAR ENGINE STARTING AND CAR DRIVING AWAY. DOGS BARKING. SILENCE.

Jakob:
I told you he is a clever boy! We will visit the government nursery tomorrow. If we start our alley planting soon, we can have the fattest cows in the valley.

Sarah:
And you can have the fattest belly! I told you he is a clever boy! I really like the idea of a tree shop! But he is also clever because he knows my favourite colour is red.

LAUGHS. FADE OUT.

Announcer:
If you want nutritious feed for your livestock all year, try growing fodder trees. A local crop or livestock specialist can help you select and plant the best trees for fodder. It is important to learn how to mix the fodder with other livestock feed because only one-third of your livestock fodder should come from trees or shrubs. With careful planning, fodder crops can provide low-cost and high quality feed for your livestock.

Acknowledgements

  • Contributed by: John Van Zyl, ABC Ulwazi, Radio Training and Production House, PO Box 32402, Braamfontein 2017, South Africa. Email: info@abculwazi.org.za
  • Reviewed by Professor Helen Hambly Odame, Rural Extension Studies, University of Guelph, Canada.