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Script 97.3

Notes to broadcasters

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Groundnuts are one of the most important food and cash crops in Malawi. They are mostly grown by small-scale, resource-poor farmers, particularly women. About 20% or one in every five farmers in Malawi grows groundnuts.

Groundnuts are a good source of protein, vitamins and vegetable oils, and are a significant part of household diets in most parts of the country.

Groundnuts can be grown at low cost. They are a particularly easy “entry” cash crop because they don’t require specialized skills, equipment or fertilizer.

Groundnuts can be an important source of income, especially for women farmers, who have been mostly excluded in Malawi from growing cash crops such as tobacco. Groundnuts provide more than a quarter of small-scale farmers’ income in Malawi.

Typically, groundnut farmers in Malawi grow about one acre (0.4 hectares) of groundnuts. Men farmers typically devote more land to groundnut, and grow it more frequently than women as a cash crop.

Groundnuts can be grown in a wide range of rotations and can follow any clean-weeded crop, for example, maize, sorghum, pearl millet, cassava, sweet potato or sunflower. To minimize diseases and pests, groundnut should not be sown after cotton or tobacco.

This script is a drama on finding good seeds for groundnuts. It also touches on the value of diversifying your farming activities to ensure a more secure livelihood by having several sources of food and income. The drama was written in consultation with groundnut experts. You could use this script as inspiration to research and write a script on groundnuts in your area. Or you might choose to produce this script on your station, using voice actors to represent the characters.

You could air this program, and follow it with an open discussion (with phone-in and text-in) about finding good seed for small-scale groundnut farmers. Because this program includes the same characters as Pack 97, Item 2, you could also air it in a series with that drama.

Average running time: 16-17 minutes with beginning and end music.

 

Script

CHARACTERS:
CHIBWE
CHIEF
SECRETARY
TEMBO
NAMILAZI
WOMAN

Main messages:

Buy seeds from reliable sources. If you are planting recycled seed or buying from unreliable sources, make sure you have time to test the germination rate.
Buy seed early so that you can plant with the first effective planting rains.
Make sure you have many ways of getting food and income, because it is uncertain which crop and which enterprise will succeed.

SIGNATURE TUNE UP AND UNDER PRESENTER

PRESENTER:
Today, we present a drama entitled, “The early bird catches the worm,” or Kambalame kolawirira ndiko kamatola nyongolotsii, as we say in Chichewa. I am your presenter, _____, bringing the drama to you on (name of radio station.)

Later in the program, we will open our phone and SMS lines to discuss where you can buy good seed close to your area, and also whether you can tell just by looking at seeds whether they will have a high germination rate or not. Our numbers for phone calls are _____ and our SMS lines are _____.

SIGNATURE TUNE UP AND CROSS-FADE INTO BELOW

NARRATOR:
Which crops are you going to plant this year? Which varieties of groundnuts do you like – and why? Today, our drama looks at challenges that people face when they want to buy good seed in their local area, and the dangers of buying seeds from unreliable sources. It also looks at the benefits of diversifying your sources of income and food. Here is The early bird catches the worm.

SIGNATURE TUNE

SCENE ONE

SFX:
KNOCKING

CHIEF:
Yes … hold on, I’m coming.

SFX:
DOOR OPENING

CHIEF:
Oh, it’s Mr. Chibwe. How are you?

CHIBWE:
I am fine, village headman.

CHIEF:
How can I help you, Mr. Chibwe? Do you have any problems with your new maize mill?

CHIBWE:
No, my Chief. The new maize mill is fine.

CHIEF:
Mr. Chibwe, once again let me thank you for reducing the distance which our women need to travel. The trading centre was the only place people could find a maize mill. Five kilometres by foot is a long distance.

CHIBWE:
Don’t mention it. I am happy that you were supportive and allowed me to buy a maize mill. And not only that. You gave me a strategic place by the road that passes through our village.

CHIEF:
Don’t mention it; that is our job and responsibility as Chiefs.

CHIBWE:
It was good that you gave plots to everyone in the village who wanted to build a grocery – or any type of a shop. That was admirable.

CHIEF:
I believe my people will establish a good trading centre in my village. If you fail, I will invite rich people to build their shops.

CHIBWE:
No, we will build shops and serve our brothers and sisters better. This will bring development and creative thinking to the youths in this village.

CHIEF:
What can I do for you, Mr. Chibwe?

CHIBWE:
Thank you, sir. I would like to buy the variety of groundnut seed which you grow.

CHIEF:
The Chalimbana 2000?

CHIBWE:
Yes, Chalimbana. Is it Chalimbana 2000 now?

CHIEF:
Yes, I heard they improved the Chalimbana we know. But why do you want it?

CHIBWE:
I have noticed that it sells well if you are selling it fresh or cooked.

CHIEF:
Yes, many people in town are now fond of eating fresh Chalimbana, either raw or cooked.

CHIBWE:
People made money doing that last year. The unshelled nuts sold for 9000 kwacha per bag. I think it’s a big win because the nuts are still fresh; they are not dried and not shrunken from drying. That was a good gamble you made to sell fresh unshelled nuts last season.

CHIEF:
That was indeed a good gamble because the dried and shelled ones are selling at only 250 kwacha per kilo! I sold at a much better price than that. But there was a reason I took that gamble. I only harvested six bags. I sold two fresh and kept four bags.

CHIBWE:
How much land did you plant with groundnuts?

CHIEF:
I planted a half acre. .

CHIBWE:
(NOT IMPRESSED) But why the low yield? I want the kind of Chalimbana that did well – the one I saw you drying after harvest. The nuts were big and full inside the pods.

CHIEF:
Did you see those nuts in the garden or did you see the harvested ones at home?

CHIBWE:
I saw them harvested at home.

CHIEF:
Okay. In the garden there was a disaster.

CHIBWE:
What disaster?

CHIEF:
Germination was very poor. I got so angry that I nearly uprooted everything and planted another crop. But my wife said that I should leave it for seed next season.

CHIBWE:
I want to buy seed from you, and I want to avoid those low germination rates. Sell me a little of your Chalimbana, please.

CHIEF:
Sorry, I kept only enough for my own seed. I do not have any more. This year, I will plant on a bigger piece of land, two acres.

CHIBWE:
You have tasted sugar now, seen the goodness of Chalimbana. (Editor’s note: “tasted sugar” means having a positive experience.)

CHIEF:
Yes, I will be growing the Chalimbana 2000 variety because it yields higher and with lower rainfall than the traditional Chalimbana. With the jackpot I hit last year from selling my nuts fresh, I will take my farming to another level.

CHIBWE:
Yes, people like that variety for eating fresh. Too bad the germination rate was not good. Chief, I trusted that you would sell me nuts that would germinate.

CHIEF:
You have reminded me … Last year I bought my groundnut seed in the marketplace because I couldn’t find seed from the reputable places. It could be that the seed was not well taken care of … or maybe it was over-dried at the market.

CHIBWE:
I nearly bought from the market too last year. But I do not know what to do next. I want to diversify even the varieties of groundnuts I grow.

CHIEF:
I wish you well. I have heard that there are credible agro-dealer shops and other credible sources in many parts of Malawi that sell this Chalimbana 2000. For example, there is Chitedze Research Station, ICRISAT and NASFAM. (Editor’s note: ICRISAT is International Crop Research Institute of Semi-Arid Tropics and NASFAM is the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi) But demand is so high that some people decide to buy grain nuts for seed. Why can’t you …

CHIBWE:
(INTERRUPTING) … Buy from reputable sources and not in the marketplace? The problem is that we do not have such a shop in our area. And how can someone farm confidently when the seed is from unreliable places like local markets? They just leave them in the sun every day waiting for buyers.

CHIEF:
If it were not for the poor germination rate, I would have been telling a different story. A good one. I would have bought an oxcart. Imagine – just from the two bags of fresh groundnuts, I got 18,000 kwacha.

CHIBWE:
O yea! I saw that fresh nuts were selling at a high price, especially your Chalimbana variety – people were scrambling for it.

CHIEF:
Scrambling indeed! You know what happened … A vendor met me when I was just about to dry the nuts. He tried to convince me to sell him the two bags of fresh nuts I was just about to dry. He kept on raising the price when I showed no interest. So I decided to try something new and sold the fresh nuts to him.

CHIBWE:
Nine thousand kwacha for a 50-kilo bag of fresh nuts was a good price – I could sell to him too. That’s the reason we grow crops – to sell at a competitive price like that!

CHIEF:
Anyway, because of all that, this year I have kept just enough for me to plant. I am sorry; I don’t have any more seed to sell.

CHIBWE:
Okay, Chief, I have to go now. I left Namilazi alone. I have to go and help her re-start the engine of the maize mill if it stops running.

CHIEF:
Does she re-start it when you are away and people want to use it?

CHIBWE:
Oh yes. She knows how to start it. She does it manually with a puller, or with a starter motor.

CHIEF:
(CHUCKLING) These days maize mills have starter motors like cars.

CHIBWE:
(OFF-MIC) Yes, Chief, see you later.

SCENE TRANSITION

SCENE TWO

SFX:
SOUND OF LANDLINE PHONE GETTING LOUDER

SFX
: KNOCKING

SECRETARY:
Come in, Mr. Chibwe.

CHIBWE:
Madam secretary, why do you leave the door open?

SECRETARY:
It is hot this year, so I just wanted fresh air to circulate.

CHIBWE:
Yes, it’s very hot, and it is only 9 a.m.

SECRETARY:
Can I help you, Mr. Chibwe?

CHIBWE:
Yes, madam.

SECRETARY:
(PAUSE) How can I help you?

CHIBWE:
I want Chalimbana nuts for seed.

SECRETARY:
Chalimbana was in demand. It is finished and we have no seed left. In fact, this year we did not stock it because we are not registering new club members – and remember, this is our last year in the area.

CHIBWE:
(WORRIED) When you are gone, where are we going to buy groundnut seeds? What will I do?

SECRETARY:
Ask Mr. Tembo those questions; he will have answers, I believe.

CHIBWE:
Thank you, Madam.

SECRETARY:
You can go in. The person who was there has gone.

SFX:
KNOCKING

TEMBO:
Come in, Mr. Chibwe. I heard your voice.

CHIBWE:
You recognized my voice?

TEMBO:
Why not? How can I help you?

CHIBWE:
As you may have heard, I need Chalimbana seed.

TEMBO:
We do not have any seed this year. We distributed it all last year. This year we are expecting that everyone will at least recycle it once. Next season, we will stock both CG 7 and Chalimbana as we used to do. But why didn’t you take both varieties last season?

CHIBWE:
I was interested in learning all the growing tips and concentrating on how to grow and store the nuts so I would get maximum returns on one variety. There were so many do’s and don’ts.

TEMBO:
(CHUCKLING) You are calling them do’s and don’ts, but they are simply good groundnut growing practices.

CHIBWE:
I have heard that you are leaving next year. How are we going to survive without you?

TEMBO:
Yes, we need to serve other areas. You must survive this year and do well to show that you are the one who succeeded with the farming. It is your farming and not ours.

CHIBWE:
How are we going to find good seed?

TEMBO:
We will leave you with new seed and give you good advice on where you can buy groundnut seed and how to manage them. We will simply leave some seed for multiplication. You will multiply the seed and give us back twice the seed we gave you, then sell us the rest of your seed at a price to be decided.

CHIBWE:
That would be good. I heard NASFAM shops have good seed, but we do not have a shop here. Local seed multiplication is the best way to go.

TEMBO:
Yes, we tried a system where farmers multiply and pass on local seed to their friends in the first season and it worked. We will also link you to seed companies so they can give you basic seed to multiply.

CHIBWE:
That is good. Please come and tell everyone in the group. But what should I do now? I need seed.

TEMBO:
I don’t know. The problem is that at the market, you won’t know if the nuts are well-dried or not. We buy our seed from the agricultural organization called ICRISAT. I encourage you to buy from there for a good germination rate and high yield. Or go to the NASFAM shop in town.

CHIBWE:
(EXCITED) I have an idea! I will buy the nuts which are sold at the market but are still in their shells.

TEMBO:
That would be better, because you will know that you are buying the variety you want.

That can help if you find enough seed in the shells. But remember that if the nuts are not well-matured, some pods may be empty. The problem with market nuts is that you will not know how many times they recycled the seed.

CHIBWE:
Yes, but I have no choice. I do not think I will go into town anytime soon. When I was there, they said seed would not be ready until September.

TEMBO:
It is September now, so it should be there. Go and buy from town. Remember the yield goes down every year you recycle. (PAUSE) But I thought you were a millionaire. Why can’t you buy in town at ICRISAT?

CHIBWE:
Just because you are a millionaire, it doesn’t mean you should spend money anyhow. Anyway, why are those good seeds not being sold closer to us farmers?

TEMBO:
You are right; they should be. I will try to look around and see where you can buy some Chalimbana closer to here.

CHIBWE:
Money can easily be wasted. I always buy what I planned to buy as soon as I find money. So I have decided to buy now.

TEMBO:
Be careful when buying seed. Otherwise you will waste your money on groundnut seed that will not germinate.

CHIBWE:
I am also afraid. That is why I wanted to buy from my chief. But he has already sold his groundnut seed and has only enough seed for himself.

TEMBO:
If you buy from the market, remember to test the germination rate the way I taught you.

CHIBWE:
O yes, I will do that before the rains come.

SCENE TRANSITION

SCENE THREE

SFX:
SOUND OF A DIESEL MAIZE MILL

NAMILAZI:
(SPEAKING LOUDLY TO OVERCOME THE SOUND OF THE MAIZE MILL) What is on the bicycle, my husband Chibwe?

CHIBWE:
It is Chalimbana nuts.

NAMILAZI:
For what?

CHIBWE:
I thought we agreed that we should start local processing.

NAMILAZI:
Okay, let me stop the engine. This is the last person. You should take over the job now.

CHIBWE:
(QUIETER VOICE NOW) Let’s just close it. It is already six.

NAMILAZI:
Wait, Chibwe, other people may come.

CHIBWE:
Madam boss, why can’t we go? If people need us, I will come back to serve them. They know our house.

NAMILAZI:
Ok, let’s go; I missed you, honey. You just left me alone at the maize mill.

CHIBWE:
Don’t worry; I am not interested in being seduced by women. And you should be here at the mill to protect our investment. There are no women who want to seduce you and get you to mill their maize for free!

NAMILAZI:
Yes, they will not do that. (TEASING) But are you not afraid that men will want me?

CHIMBWE:
Will you go with them and leave your maize mill? Maize mills are valuable and hard to find.

NAMILAZI:
There is no problem. Most of the time the men who come to the maize mill are the ones who love their wives the most.

CHIBWE:
You are right; I know you are safe. Don’t worry, I am yours.

NAMILAZI:
Mine alone …

CHIBWE:
(WHISPERING) You are the only wife of the big boss in the village.

NAMILAZI:
Why are you whispering? Do you not want people to hear that you are the big boss?

CHIBWE:
There is a saying that when you are rich, you should not acknowledge the riches in public.

NAMILAZI:
Okay. Let’s talk about this groundnut seed. I remember when we were grading that we talked about processing and diversifying. You did not tell me that you were going to buy seeds this early. Are these Chalimbana seeds for processing or simply diversifying?

CHIBWE:
I am thinking of processing some of these nuts.

NAMILAZI:
What kind of processing?

CHIBWE:
I was thinking of cooking and selling them fresh, and drying some after they are cooked and selling them afterwards. What do you think?

NAMILAZI:
That is a good idea. No one has tried to sell dried cooked nuts in Malawi. Who will be cooking and drying – you?

CHIBWE:
Why not you, darling?

NAMILAZI:
No, not me. I have something to do which I love.

CHIBWE:
And what is that?

NAMILAZI:
I run the maize mill, and soon I will employ a boy to buy the fuel.

CHIBWE:
And what am I going to do?

NAMILAZI:
(A LITTLE ANGRY) Mr. Chibwe, are these Chalimbana nuts a way of relegating me to being a wife with no other rights? Is this a strategy that you created to get me out of the maize mill?

CHIBWE:
Okay okay, I understand. You will not cook the nuts; I will sell them fresh.

NAMILAZI:
No, don’t worry, I will cook for you. Don’t take another wife to cook groundnuts for you. I will do it.

CHIBWE:
No, my wife, I understand what you were saying. I can try cooking them and drying them and selling them after drying. It’s simply a trial first. If it works, then we can employ someone to do that.

NAMILAZI:
Are you saying that from deep down inside you?

CHIBWE:
Mark my word; I am certain this will happen.

NAMILAZI:
Thank you, my dear. I know you are telling the truth. I know you. So should I employ a boy to buy fuel?

CHIBWE:
No, do not employ a boy. (JOKING) I am your boy. I will ride to the petrol stations. I do not want someone to buy contaminated diesel and kill our engine.

NAMILAZI:
You are right, my dear. We would start blaming witchcraft while it’s the cheap diesel that is damaging our maize mill!

CHIBWE:
Yes, I don’t want that. I can buy fuel in large quantities in drums and carry it in my oxcart. By the way, how much have you made?

NAMILAZI:
In the morning, I made 10,000 kwacha. I have not counted the afternoon money. You should bank it tomorrow morning before it accumulates. But why do you have two bags of seed?

CHIBWE:
Some are unshelled, but there was not enough, so I bought some which are already shelled.

NAMILAZI:
You have to test the germination rates for both.

CHIBWE:
Tomorrow morning, I will plant them to test. I will soak them tonight to make the germination faster. I can buy more if I find problems.

NAMILAZI:
Do you remember how to test for the germination rate?

CHIBWE:
Yes, all I need to do is to soak 10 to 20 seeds from each of my bags, both the shelled and unshelled ones. After 24 hours, I put them on a wet towel or simply plant them in the soil. After three to seven days they will germinate – or not.

SCENE TRANSITION

SCENE FOUR

SFX:
MAIZE MILL. CHIBWE AND NAMILAZI SPEAK LOUDLY TO BE HEARD OVER THE NOISE OF THE MAIZE MILL. SOUNDS OF OTHER PEOPLE TALKING IN THE BACKGROUND.

CHIBWE:
Please, Namilazi, give me ten thousand. I want to buy more nuts.

NAMILAZI:
Was that seed not enough?

CHIBWE:
No, the nuts are not good for seed – they didn’t germinate. I guess we can roast and use them for seasoning.

NAMILAZI:
Are both shelled and unshelled bad?

CHIBWE:
No, just the nuts which were already shelled are bad. They are not germinating well enough.

NAMILAZI:
Zero – no germination?

CHIBWE:
Not zero, but the rate is so low that I can’t trust them. Seven out of 10 germinated. The unshelled nuts all germinated.

NAMILAZI:
We were always told that we should buy unshelled nuts and keep them unshelled until the rains are very close or have come.

CHIBWE:
The chief said that it would be wise to test the germination before the rains came. His nuts last year were a disaster. Very few nuts germinated – and he didn’t know his seed had a low germination rate until he planted them in his garden. He had no chance to test them.

WOMAN:
Why test the nuts? I just bought mine in the local market.

CHIBWE:
It’s good to know if seeds are good before the rains come. That way, you can avoid the shock of poor germination.

WOMAN:
How can I test the germination rate of my nuts?

CHIBWE:
The easiest way is to plant at least ten nuts. I prefer soaking them when I am going to bed, and in the morning I plant them in a tin or in a protected place. Then I wait three to seven days to see if they germinate.

NAMILAZI:
You can also simply put them on a wet towel and see if they make healthy shoots.

WOMAN:
I will plant the nuts somewhere and observe how many germinate. Thank you – I have learnt something. That is why you, our friend, you are getting rich. You prepare well for things.

NAMILAZI:
Not only prepare well, but discuss things in the family.

WOMAN:
Thank you, madam, you are a good woman. I used to think you were reserved and did not want to talk to us. Sorry, I was wrong. Thank you.

NAMILAZI:
Don’t mention it.

SIGNATURE TUNE UP AND UNDER PRESENTER

PRESENTER:
Until next week at the same time, I am saying that you should think about diversifying your farming business. Even with groundnuts, you can grow fresh, you can process into oil, and many other things. Diversification gives you a number of sources of income and food. And that helps guarantee a secure food supply and a good income. Remember to buy groundnut seed early so that you can test the germination rate before the rains come. But remember also to buy from reputable seed sellers which are as close to you as possible.

You were with me (name of presenter). Make a date to be with us next week.

SIGNATURE TUNE UP, HOLD, AND FADE OUT

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Gladson Makowa.
Reviewed by: Mr. Philip Kamwendo, Project Coordinator-Consultant, IFAD-SPIP, c\o Rural Livelihoods and Economic Enhancement Programme (RLEEP).

Note: As of September 2013, 1000 Malawian kwacha was worth approximately $3 US.

gac-logoProject undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD)