Notes to broadcasters
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In different parts of the world, depending on their environment, farmers have developed various methods of growing rice. While broadcast sowing or dibble seeding is practiced for upland rice cultivation, lowland or irrigated rice cultivation often involves transplanting seedlings. These seedlings come from nurseries.
Setting up a proper nursery is the first step for farmers to obtain a good yield. If properly prepared, a nursery produces high-quality seedlings with a uniform green colour and well developed roots that can be easily transplanted.
The following radio program tells the story of a rice farmer who wanted to establish a rice nursery. His first trial failed. However, with some more knowledge and perseverance he was able to achieve success.
ScriptProgram identification music
Good morning dear friends and listeners. Today’s program will focus on one farmer’s experience with making a rice nursery. But first things first… please stand by for a musical intermission.
Fade out music
In the centre of Benin, or more precisely in the district of Covè, there’s a small village called Koussé Lélé. In this village lives Codjo, the main character of today’s story.
Codjo is a farmer. He inherited, from his parents, a piece of land close to a stream. He took advantage of this gift to start growing rice. But every season his land flooded and he lost his entire crop. Because he had to find a way to avoid flood damage in the future, he decided to change his cultivation methods. What he wanted to do was to establish a nursery from which he could collect seedlings, and then transplant them once the water level was low enough.
To start the nursery, Codjo chooses a safe spot, away from roaming animals. The plot is not too far from the stream and there aren’t any big trees around that shade his nursery.
To start, Codjo cultivates the soil with a hoe to make nursery plots that are 1 metre by 10 metres in size. By doing this, he can easily manage the plot without having to trample on rice seedlings when digging them up. He uses sticks to mark the seedbeds, and makes sure the length of each bed is perpendicular to the slope. This way, he reduces the risk that rainwater washes away the seeds. He also raises the level of the seedbed to about 10 centimetres and makes bunds around it to protect it from heavy rains.
After having prepared his nursery, Codjo can now proceed with seeding. The first time he simply broadcasts his seeds on to the soil. But a heavy rain the following day washes away the seeds that were not well anchored in the soil. As a result, Codjo does not get enough seedlings to transplant his entire field. Those seeds that germinate are too close to one another. And because the seedlings are so close together, he must wait more than a month before they are strong enough to be uprooted. He discovers that older seedlings when transplanted can’t produce many tillers. Unfortunately, with all these problems, Codjo’s first experience with transplanting is not very successful.
Far from being discouraged, Codjo calls on an extension officer who offers some helpful advice. For example, he suggests that Codjo mix his seeds with sand before sowing them. Mixing seeds with sand helps to properly scatter and spread the seeds over the nursery. This reduces the density so each plant will be stronger. And strong seedlings can be transplanted at an earlier age, so there will be more tillers. Also, when sowing the seeds he must throw them with enough force to better fix them in the soil.
Codjo also learned from his experiments that you need less than two kilograms of quality seeds to transplant a surface of 500 square metres. Knowing this, he can now easily calculate the quantity of seeds needed and the number of seedbeds required to plant his whole farm. He now understands the importance of watering the nursery very well after seeding, and to continue doing so until uprooting the seedlings. If he transplants the seedlings quickly after uprooting them, they re-establish quickly in the field.
Now Codjo always follows the recommended procedures and is getting better results. The seedlings in his nursery are high-quality, vigorous and erect. They have a uniform green colour and well developed roots. Starting the season with strong seedlings gives him a headstart in the rice growing season.
So, Codjo learned some important things about establishing a nursery. He now offers advice to other farmers. Make your nursery close to your field. Don’t plant seeds too close together. Mix seeds with sand when seeding. Transplant seedlings as soon as they are uprooted. All these steps will provide you with healthy plants and higher yields.
Background sound of the theme music
Dear rice growers and listeners, that’s it for today’s program. Don’t forget that setting up a nursery is the first step towards a bountiful harvest. If you would like a copy of the video programs on making a rice nursery and transplanting, you can contact [radio broadcaster should give the name of local contact person or organization distributing rice videos].
Contributed by: Felix S. Houinsou, Rural Radio Consultant/Africa Rice Center (WARDA)
Reviewed by: Paul Van Mele, Program Leader, Learning and Innovation Systems/Africa Rice Center (WARDA)
Radio broadcasters can click on this link to see a list of rice video distribution sites or see the list that is included with this script package.