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Script 81.10

Notes to broadcasters

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Most practicing farmers in our communities are women. When we talk about producing fruit crops, what comes to mind is that there are still men who feel that women should not plant trees, including fruit trees. These men still have not accepted women’s leadership in any kind of development activity. Women have not been given full access and control of land and its resources.

At present, most communities are shedding light on women’s issues. Community attitudes towards women are undergoing drastic positive change. Some women are involved in agroforestry, but more are growing fruit crops to boost their income. Women are still involved in these activities at a low level, however, and much more awareness is needed of the role that trees – and especially fruit trees – can play in our daily lives, both economically and socially.

Fruit crops which can boost farm income include:

mangoes
oranges
apples
passion fruit
bananas
pineapple
guavas
avocados
pears
pawpaw
coconut

This script can help farmers who are interested in producing these fruit crops understand some of the benefits of growing fruits, and offers some basic information on planting three different types of fruit trees – avocado, pineapple and banana.

Script

Fade up theme music to introduce the programme, then fade under host.

HOST:
Friends, welcome to today’s programme, “Fruit changes farmers’ lives.” Today we’ll share information about fruit crop production to boost farm income and for other benefits. Stay tuned to make your lives more fruitful.

Fade up theme music, then fade under host.

HOST:
Farmers, have you ever imagined that you could improve your life by simply giving attention to fruit crops? Have you ever thought of growing fruit crops to generate income for your family? Pay close attention today and you’ll learn how. (Pause) Often, farmers plant fruit trees just for their own consumption, to improve their diets. Much less often, farmers plant fruit trees to enhance their family income. Fruit crops such as mangoes, avocados, pineapples, pawpaw and many others can bring income to a family. In this programme, we will talk about three fruit crops that farmers can easily grow to improve their livelihoods socially and economically. These are avocados, bananas, and pineapples. There are many potential benefits to consider when choosing a specific fruit crop to grow. And women can easily grow these fruits and benefit from them. Listen to what Mrs. Francisca Ochura says:

MRS. OCHURA:
I am seventy years old, and my health is not good enough to grow fruit commercially. But, because I need fruits to boost my immune system, I grow bananas. Bananas are simple to grow and to care for. When the banana tree produces fruit, there are too many bananas for myself and my husband to eat, so I can sell the surplus to avoid losses, and also to supplement my income.

HOST:
.
Ochura has mentioned a few benefits of fruit growing. Other benefits include improving immune system health for people living with AIDS, providing vitamins for men and women, increasing farm income, using the leaves to help make compost, providing shade, using trees as a wind break and as part of agroforestry systems for ecological health. I know you all want to hear about how to plant these three kinds of fruits.

It is very simple. For avocado seedlings, just dig a hole two feet deep and two feet wide, either a circle or a square. Separate the subsoil from the topsoil. Mix the topsoil with manure and fill three-quarters of the hole with the mixture, leaving a six-inch deep depression. Plant the seedlings preferably in the evening and water immediately for best growth. For pineapples, use the same size of hole but plant six seedlings in each hole. Pineapples require a round planting hole. For bananas, dig a hole three feet deep and three feet wide and use the same planting method.

While the fruit grows, add a little compost or composted manure on top of the seed bed from time to time. Covering with straw will also help reduce loss of water in the soil.

Listeners! Don’t you think this kind of practice is woman friendly? Because women contribute 80% of agricultural production, enormous economic growth can be realized if women farmers take an interest in growing fruit. Women should not feel that fruit production is impossible. It is the simplest farming to learn because fruit does not require constant care.

Fade up music, then under host.

HOST:
An average of one thousand fruits can be harvested from one avocado tree in one year. The average price of an avocado is five Kenyan shillings (Broadcasters: use local currency). If you multiply five shillings times a thousand fruit, the outcome is five thousand Kenyan shillings. Now, listener, imagine if you had only ten trees. You would be earning fifty thousand Kenyan shillings! You would be earning income from growing fruit, while spending very little to grow it. This, listener, is how to start producing fruit crops which earn an income. But remember! To make sure you get good disease resistant and early fruiting trees, plant only grafted seedlings of the best varieties.

Fade up music then under host.

HOST:
Listeners, we do hope that you learned something from today’s programme, “Fruit changes farmers’ lives.” We have talked about the kind of fruit crops to choose from, we have talked about planting methods, and we’ve talked about the many benefits of fruits. Till we meet again. Bye.

Fade up music then out.

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Rachael Awuor, Ugunja Community Resource Centre, Kenya.
Reviewed by: Dr Tony Simons, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).