Français

Script 87.7

Notes to broadcasters

Save and edit this resource as a Word document.

In recent months, fuel prices have risen and then fallen, with the worldwide economic crisis. There have been rises in food prices and in the cost of living, which have persisted despite lower fuel prices. In Kenya, the non-profit organization Help Self Help Centre is helping to provide an affordable and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal. It is working with small-scale farmers to produce biodiesel from locally available seeds that contain oils.

Africa is often dependent on biomass for energy, which can result in negative environmental impacts and energy scarcity for the majority of people. Most African countries which can produce biofuels have limited capacity to do so on a large-scale basis. Also, large-scale biofuels projects have met with criticism. But small-scale solutions such as the one highlighted in this script can lift people out of poverty, offering many more opportunities to communities.

In the following script, two farmers who are involved in growing oil-producing plants and collecting seeds will tell us how this project is helping them meet their daily needs. We will also hear from Mr. Bernard Muchiri, the Director of Help Self Help Centre, who will explain how the organization works with the farmers.

In this script, the character called “Jane” talks about using sunflower seeds to get oil. Generally speaking, it is much less profitable to make biodiesel from edible sources than it is to use non-edible plants. In this case, however, “Jane” may only have access to sunflowers.

This script is based on actual interviews. To produce this script on your station, you might choose to use voice actors to represent the village leader, and change the wording in the script to make it suitable for your local situation. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interview, and that the program has been adapted for your local audience, but is based on real interviews.

Script

Signature tune up then under

HOST:
Hello and welcome to our program on agriculture. In Kieni constituency of Kenya’s Nyeri district, a local NGO called Help Self Help Centre is offering an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuel. It is producing biodiesel from oil-producing seeds found in the local area, and collected by local farmers. In our program today, we will hear from two farmers who grow and collect the oil-producing seeds. We will also hear from Mr. Bernard Muchiri, the Director of Help Self Help Centre.

Signature tune up then fade

HOST:
We begin with Mr. Bernard Muchiri, the Director of Help Self Help Centre. Help Centre has many other projects. Why did you choose to venture into biodiesel?

MUCHIRI:
The biodiesel idea came from our realization that there are a lot of resources out there that are not being used and which could be turned into income by small-scale farmers. We did a lot of research and development and we found some trees and plants that produce seeds with oils.

HOST:
Which particular seeds do you use?

MUCHIRI:
There are several types of seeds: croton, castor, and cape chestnut.

HOST:
Why did you choose to use these seeds rather than others such as jatropha?

MUCHIRI:
We chose these seeds because the plants are already growing in large quantities in the project area.

HOST:
How much do you offer a farmer for one kilogram of seeds?

MUCHIRI:
That depends on the type of seed. For croton, we offer five shillings per kilo, because it is very hard to crush croton seeds to make the biodiesel. For castor, we offer ten shillings, and for cape chestnut we offer 15 shillings. Basically, you need four kilos of seed to produce one litre of oil.

HOST:
What would you say to farmers who would like to supply seed for this project?

MUCHIRI:
I would recommend that they start from what they have and don’t radically change their production systems. Rather, they can simply plant some croton or castor or cape chestnut trees in their fields and integrate them into their farming system. By diversifying their crops in this way, they can have the extra benefit of reducing the risk of crop failures. The other important thing I would recommend is to get organized in a group, and then gather seeds until you have enough. By enough, I mean about one tonne of seeds. Once you have gathered one tonne of seeds, then you can link with us, and we can come and collect and pay you for the seeds. Of course, the farmer groups should contact HSHC first to ensure that their seeds will be bought.

HOST:
That was Bernard Muchiri, the director of the Help Self Help Centre, the non-profit organization that is helping small-scale farmers in the Kieni district of Kenya earn some money from growing and collecting oil-producing seeds. Let us listen to some music from(name of local artist)before we travel all the way to Kieni to meet two farmers who grow and collect the seeds for biodiesel fuel.

Musical interlude

HOST:
Welcome back. In our program today, we are learning how farmers can be involved in producing biodiesel. Jane is the chairperson of her local self help women’s group, and one of the farmers who is benefiting from the biodiesel project run by the Help Self Help Centre in the Kieni area of Kenya. Jane, what do you do in this project?

JANE:
We plant sunflower in our gardens. We were told that when we grow sunflowers we can get oil from the seeds. We can meet our daily needs from the money we get after selling the seeds to HSHC. I planted the sunflowers two months ago, and I will harvest them in two more months. The sunflower plants are doing well.

HOST:
Do you plant only sunflower, or do you grow other food crops?

JANE:
I have other foods in the garden – potatoes, maize and beans. I have mixed them all in my quarter acre of land.

HOST:
And how are the other plants doing?

JANE:
They are doing well.

HOST:
Let’s talk about collecting. Which kinds of seeds do you collect?

JANE:
We grow and collect croton seeds. In the past, we did not know how to use croton trees; farmers used to grow them for fencing in our area. But now we realize that we can sell the seeds and get some income.

HOST:
Are there other seeds that you collect?

JANE:
We also collect cape chestnut from the area near our forest.

HOST:
Do you collect every day?

JANE:
Three days a week

HOST:
In one day, how many kilos do you collect?

JANE:
Almost twenty. We collect as a group of farmers.

HOST:
(Pause)Josephine is another small-scale farmer and secretary of the Mathina seeds collection group. How many members are in your group?

Josephine:
We have thirty members.

HOST:
How has this business helped the farmers in their daily lives?

JOSEPHINE:
We use the money to buy utensils, food and clothes. We collect 20 kilograms per day and we collect it three days per week.

HOST:
On average, how much money do you make?

JOSEPHINE:
We make six hundred Kenyan shillings(about $7.75 US dollars or 5 ½ Euros)per week.

HOST:
Coming back to you, Jane, after you collect the seeds, what is the process up until you are paid?

JANE:
When we collect seeds from the forest, we weigh them, with all the members present. We record the weight, then we phone HSHC or they call us. They bring our money and they pay us here. Then they transport the seeds to their office.

HOST:
Do you hope one day to grow croton and other seeds in your garden?

JANE:
Yes, we want to encourage our farmers to plant the seeds on our farms. Then, we will introduce them to other farmers so that the seeds will live on. I encourage the farmers to plant the trees because they are very beautiful in the garden, and the seeds generate income. Also, we want Help Self Help Centre to build us a seed propagator.

HOST:
What is a seed propagator?

JANE:
It is a device that maintains a warm and damp environment for seeds and cuttings to grow in.

HOST:
Thank you, Jane.(Pause, then addressing radio audience)You have heard from your fellow farmers how you can generate income by growing oilseed-producing plants in your garden and get involved in collecting seeds as a group. For more information on how you can start growing or collecting oil-producing seed, get in touch with (name of broadcasting station). Thank you for tuning in.

Signature tune up then fade

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Winnie Onyimbo, Trans World Radio, Kenya.

Reviewed by: Neil Noble, Technical Adviser, Practical Answers, Practical Action.

Information Sources

Here are the scientific names for the plants mentioned in the script:

Croton: Croton megalocarpus
Castor: Ricimus communis
Cape chestnut: Calodendrum capense