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Script 93.4

Notes to broadcasters

We eat to live. Without food, we would go hungry. But hunger is not only about not having enough to eat; it is also about what you eat. “Hidden hunger’’ occurs when people suffer from micronutrient malnutrition. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals. Unlike macronutrients such as calcium and magnesium, they are needed in smaller amounts. Nevertheless, they are essential for good health. Millions of people, typically those who live in rural areas, eat staple foods such as maize, cassava and sweet potato. While these fill their stomachs, they cannot by themselves provide people with enough micronutrients.

Scientists have started to develop crops with higher levels of micronutrients. While these efforts are underway, there are many indigenous African leafy vegetables with high levels of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. But these local vegetables are being underutilized due to lack of knowledge.

This script is based on actual interviews. You could use this script as inspiration to research and write a script on a similar topic in your area. Or you might choose to produce this script on your station, using voice actors to represent the speakers. 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 interviews.

Script

Signature tune for 10 seconds, then fade and hold under host

Presenter:
Welcome to your favourite program, “Health Matters.” Good nutrition is important for good health. The idea of improving nutrition to solve health problems was raised at a recent farmers’ forum. Our reporter was there to interview the headman of Abotanso community and the extension officer for the area. Stay tuned, wherever you are.

Signature tune up for five seconds, then fade out

Sound of traditional music in the background

Interviewer:
I am in Abotanso, a community on the outskirts of Koforidua, the capital of the Eastern Region of Ghana. From where I am, I can see sandbags placed on watercourses to check erosion. The community looks neat and clean. Members of the community have just ended a special meeting. They are celebrating a successful day with drumming, singing, and dancing.
I have two people with me outside the gathering. I want them to introduce themselves; first, the lady.

Gifty:
I’m Gifty, the extension officer for Abotanso and its surrounding area. I’ve been working here for the past five years.

Adjei:
I’m Papa Adjei, the headman of Abotanso community. I was born and bred here. I inherited the headmanship from my father, who died twelve years ago.

Interviewer:
What was the meeting about, Papa Adjei?

Adjei:
Five years ago, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture introduced a land and water management project here. We have implemented the project over the years. We’ve met to discuss the long-term results of our farming activities.

Fade up sound of drumming and singing, then fade under presenter

Presenter:
It appears that the people in Abotanso have gained a lot from the agricultural project. (Pause) The drumming has intensified. Let’s continue with the conversation.

Fade up drumming and singing, then fade to low and hold under the interview

Interviewer:
What are some of the achievements of the project, headman?

Adjei:
We’ve made poor farmlands more fertile. We now have more trees. Our crops are doing well. We make a lot of money from selling our crops. The extension officer has helped us a lot. But the biggest achievement is how she advised us to grow and eat more leafy vegetables to improve our health.

Interviewer:
Gifty, the headman is happy with your work. Why do you recommend leafy vegetables to them?

Gifty:
Two years ago, I visited Papa Adjei at home and found him feeling unwell. He couldn’t gather himself to stand up. Although he didn’t know it, he was lacking vitamins and minerals.

Adjei:
The day she visited me, I didn’t have enough energy.

Interviewer:
How did you know that he lacked vitamins and minerals, Gifty?

Gifty:
He showed me the list of medicines the doctor had asked him to buy. They were mostly vitamins and minerals. But human beings can obtain these micronutrients directly from their foods, especially fresh local leafy vegetables. I then talked to his wife and asked her to cook more alefu, gboma, ayoyo and kontomire. (Editor’s Note: alefu is Amaranthus species, gboma is Solanum macrocarpon, ayoyo is Cochorus species and kontonmire is Xanthosoma or Colocasia).

Interviewer:
Extension officer, did I hear you say micronutrients?
Gifty:
Yes. These are substances in food that are needed by the human body in small amounts. Nevertheless, they are essential for good health.

Interviewer:
What are some of these micronutrients?

Gifty:
Some important micronutrients are vitamin A, iron, zinc and iodine. Vitamin A improves eyesight; iron and zinc are good for body fluids such as the blood, while iodine prevents goitre.

Interviewer:
Why did you recommend those vegetables and not any other crops?

Gifty:
In the first place, they are nutritious. Also, their seeds are readily available, and the soil and weather here are suitable. Above all, these leafy vegetables are very early-maturing. Most of them take only 40 to 60 days from seed to harvest. Farmers can therefore harvest them several times in a year.

Interviewer:
Papa Adjei, why weren’t you eating enough of these greens before?

Adjei:
We didn’t know that local vegetables could be so nutritious. We considered the local leaves to be food for poor people. We rather preferred lettuce and cabbages, even though these foreign crops are more difficult to grow …

Gifty:
(Interrupting) They grow their crops and sell everything … everything, including the local vegetables, for cash!

Laughter

Adjei:
(Jokingly) Well, officer, don’t reveal everything that you have seen!

Interviewer:
Papa Adjei, how do you cultivate these crops? Share your knowledge with others, please.

Adjei:
We used to broadcast the seeds. But the extension officer taught us to sow them in nurseries and transplant them after three to four weeks. Other seeds are planted directly, with correct spacing. After clearing weeds once or twice, the crops are ready for harvesting.

Interviewer:
How do you control pests and diseases?

Adjei:
Even though the local vegetables have fewer pests and diseases than foreign ones, we use neem tree extract and wood ash to protect the crops. (Editor’s note: Neem is a plant with insecticidal properties)

Interviewer:
How do the farmers make the neem extract, officer?

Gifty:
Farmers pluck and wash neem leaves with water. Then they pound the leaves in a mortar until they get a paste. You soak one kilogram of that paste in 15 litres of water overnight. Then you stir and sieve the mixture into a knapsack sprayer. You spray the vegetables when you see insects.

Interviewer:
What if farmers do not have access to a knapsack sprayer? How do they apply it?

Gifty:
Watering cans, perforated tins and gourds are used. A farmer can also tie leaves together to form a brush and apply the mixture that way.

Interviewer:
Papa Adjei, what are your typical daily meals now that you’ve started eating more local green leafy vegetables?

Adjei:
In the morning, I take boiled moringa leaves mixed with oil and kose to accompany my koko. My lunch is normally boiled yam with a stew made with alefu or kontomire. Instead of the usual fufu with light soup for dinner, I now take fufu with soup made with green leafy vegetables. (Editor’s note: kose is bean cake; koko is a light cereal porridge; fufu is a thick paste of boiled, pounded roots and tubers)

Interviewer:
How do you feel after eating more fresh leafy vegetables?

Adjei:
I don’t visit the hospital as frequently as before. My children don’t miss school due to illness as much. My wife goes about her household chores without getting as tired as in the past.

Interviewer:
Gifty, what else have you done in the project to encourage people to eat these indigenous vegetables?

Gifty:
As I said earlier, I talked to Papa Adjei’s wife. I also called group meetings and talked to the farmers in the community about it. They are following my advice and it works for them.

Presenter:
Dear listeners, let’s take a short break. When we come back, our friends have some advice for us.

20-second musical interlude with traditional drumming and singing

Interviewer:
Sister Gifty, what advice do you have for people in other communities?

Gifty:
Our local foods contain a lot of nutrients. I encourage every farmer to grow more and eat more of our local leafy vegetables. This is because they are both food and medicine.

Interviewer:
Before I let you go, headman, what is your last statement?

Adjei:
I want this experience of ours to be recorded in the mobile agricultural information van and played frequently till many people value what we have here.

Presenter:
We have come to the end of the program, with advice from our guests to grow and eat more fresh leafy vegetables. We must also spread the message to others. Till we meet again next week, keep healthy. I’m _______, your presenter.
Signature tune up, then fade out

Acknowledgements

  • Contributed by: Gabriel Adukpo, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Koforidua, Ghana
  • Reviewed by: Liliane Kambirigi, Information Officer, Media Relations Branch,
    Office of Corporate Communication & External Relations, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Information Sources

  • Ball, A-M, 2008. Biofortification: New crops tackle hidden hunger. Viewpoint, Spore No. 138. http://spore.cta.int/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=735&catid=1
  • Shackleton, C. M. et al, (Eds), 2009. African Indigenous Vegetables in Urban Agriculture. Earthscan, London, UK and Sterling, Virginia.
  • Tweneboah, C. K., 1998. Cultivation of vegetables and spices in West Africa. C.K. Tweneboah and Co-wood Publishers.
  • Thanks to: Adjei Normenyo, headman, Abotanso community, and Gifty Osafo, extension officer. Interviewed on 19th October, 2010.