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Script 98.2

Notes to broadcasters

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This three-part drama series introduces farmers to groundnut harvesting, drying and storage. These activities are crucial to ensure quality nuts.

Most subsistence farmers in Malawi are not aware of the importance of taking care of their groundnuts after harvest in order to produce high quality nuts that will fetch better prices on the market. For example, most farmers do not know the signs of maturity in groundnuts. As a result, they either harvest their groundnuts too early or too late. This decreases the quality of their nuts. In addition, most farmers dry their groundnuts directly in the sun. They pick the fresh groundnuts immediately after lifting and dry them in direct sunshine on mats or on the ground.

Poor harvesting, drying and storage practices do not only cause losses of groundnuts.

They also expose the groundnuts to fungal infections which lead to aflatoxin contamination, putting farmers and consumers at a health risk.

Aflatoxin-contaminated groundnuts cannot be sold to lucrative markets such as in Europe. Most groundnuts from Malawi lost access to markets in Europe because of the high prevalence of aflatoxin contamination.

If aflatoxin contamination is reduced, the export market for locally-produced groundnuts will open again and boost the livelihoods of many rural farmers.

Aflatoxin and plant diseases affect groundnuts even before harvest, so farmers must take good care of their groundnuts throughout the farming period.

This three-part drama series introduces farmers to simple, user-friendly and replicable techniques for harvesting, drying and storing groundnuts.

Script

Episode One:
Groundnut harvesting, drying and storage: For a good result, take care of things from the very beginning

Notes to broadcaster:
Episode one is an estimated 12-16 minutes long.

CHARACTERS:
Nabetha: A very strong and thoughtful woman. She has the welfare of her family at heart. She grows groundnuts to bring her family out of poverty. She tries to learn the best practices for groundnut harvesting, drying, and storage so she gets high quality groundnuts that will fetch her the best prices. She consults those who have the know-how and implements their lessons in her farming. She stands her ground against Dyeratu and fights to hang on to her garden.

Potani: A greedy and selfish husband to Nabetha who loses his head when he smells money. He unwittingly sells his family’s groundnuts to Dyeratu to make easy money. He realizes his mistake after being grilled by his wife.

Mamberera: Potani’s friend. He considers the options, weighing the pros and cons tomake decisions based on facts. He does not take Dyeratu’s offer and tries to discourage Potani from selling his family’s groundnuts to Dyeratu for a song.

Dyeratu: A shrewd businessman who preys on poor farmers by enticing unsuspecting farmers with quick money during the lean period when crops are nearing maturity. He is astonished by Nabetha’s fearless fight for her family’s groundnut garden.

Maria: A bargirl who serves Potani and Mamberera.

Nambewe: Nabetha’s best friend. She helps Nabetha by teaching her some groundnut farming techniques. She is supportive of her friend and stays with Nabetha through thick and thin.

MUSIC
SIGNATURE TUNE UP AND HOLD FOR 10 SECONDS, THEN FADE DOWN AND HOLD UNDER NARRATOR

NARRATOR:
Welcome to the first episode of our three-part drama series on groundnut harvesting, drying and storage. I am your host ____, and I will be bringing you this program every __________ (afternoon, evening) for the next three weeks here on ____ station.

In today’s episode the main message is: for a good harvest, you need to take care of your crop from the very beginning. Apart from planting quality seed, other critical stages in groundnut farming are harvesting, drying and storage. These stages determine the quality of the groundnuts you consume at home and send to the market. Prevention of aflatoxin is important because aflatoxin has negative effects on the health of consumers and the marketability of groundnuts. Stay tuned for the first episode of our drama, entitled For a good result, take care of things from the very beginning.

SCENE ONE

 

AMBIENCE:
BEER HALL AMBIENCE. PEOPLE TALKING AT THE TOPS OF THEIR VOICES.

FX:
POPULAR MALAWIAN OR ZAMBIAN MUSIC PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND

IMPROV:
POTANI AND MAMBERERA SPEAKING WITH RAISED VOICES

POTANI:
Hi, Mamberera.

MAMBERERA:
Hi, Potani. Come sit down with me here.

POTANI:
So you are back from town.

MAMBERERA:
I am back.

POTANI:
How is your granddaughter?

MAMBERERA:
She is good; my son and his wife are good too.

POTANI:
Masina has a daughter now.

MAMBERERA:
They wanted the third born to be a girl and they are happy. What are you drinking?

POTANI:
You know what I take, Mamberera.

MAMBERERA:
(RAISES HIS VOICE) Hey young woman! Some more Masese (Editor’s note: Masese is local opaque beer, made from sorghum or maize).

POTANI:
How is the city?

MAMBERERA:
Busy, hectic … with their bottled beers, I missed my Masese.

MARIA:
Hi, Mr. Potani.

POTANI:
Hi, Maria.

MARIA:
Here is your beer.

MAMBERERA:
Give it to Potani.

POTANI:
Thanks a lot, Mamberera.

MAMBERERA:
You are welcome.

DYERATU:
(APPROACHING) Hello gentlemen, can I join you?

MAMBERERA:
No problem, you can take this empty chair here.

DYERATU:
I am Dyeratu.

MAMBERERA:
I am Mamberera and my friend here is Potani.

DYERATU:
Hey, girl! A round, please?

POTANI:
Your face does not look familiar; are you new in the village?

DYERATU:
I am a businessman and I am in this area buying different crops from farmers.

POTANI:
But most crops are not yet ready for harvest.

DYERATU:
Farmers do not have to wait for their crops to mature. I buy the crops right in the garden.

MAMBERERA:
What do you mean?

DYERATU:
(SMOOTHLY, PERSUASIVELY) If you have a garden of maize, we can agree on the price of your maize and I will buy it from you. In that case, you will not have to harvest the maize, dry it, shell it, apply chemicals and put it in bags. My boys and I will do all that.

POTANI:
That’s smart business.

DYERATU:
I am glad that you understand that.

MAMBERERA:
(UNCONVINCED) But how do farmers know how much they are selling?

DYERATU:
I will not dwell on that. I will, instead, tell you the benefits: a farmer will not have to wait for the crops to mature to make money; you will not have to spend more on looking after the crops and processing the harvest, etc. You make money now!

POTANI:
(EXCITED) I think I can sell my groundnuts!

MAMBERERA:
But how will you measure the quantity you have sold? How does this gentleman’s offer compare with the prices other markets will offer for dry groundnuts?

DYERATU:
(PROUDLY) I do not force farmers to sell to me. Farmers who understand the benefits of my offer sell to me because they understand the risks that I take. I can lose the crop to drought, floods, or pests and thieves, but the farmer will have made his money.

POTANI:
I have two acres of groundnuts.

DYERATU:
No problems. I will need to see the variety you are growing and how the crop stands before I can make a decision. I do not just buy anything.

POTANI:
I have a very good crop of groundnuts.

DYERATU:
Can we go now?

MAMBERERA:
Potani, can we talk for a minute?

POTANI:
Ok.

MAMBERERA:
(3 SECOND PAUSE) (WHISPERS) Don’t let this man cheat you. Goods are sold in terms of price per unit. What unit is he using to buy your groundnuts, an acre?

POTANI:
It seems you have not grasped the advantages of his offer.

MAMBERERA:
The whole transaction favours him, not us farmers.

POTANI:
Have I said I will sell my groundnuts to him? I just want to see how much his offer will be.

MAMBERERA:
But you do not know what offers other buyers will make later this year.

POTANI:
I know.

MAMBERERA:
Why sell to the vendors when you can get better prices by selling through the association, and benefit from collective marketing?

POTANI:
Do not waste your breath, Mamberera; I have not sold my groundnuts to anybody yet.

FX:
SCENE TRANSITION MUSIC

SCENE TWO:
AT HOME

AMBIENCE:
NIGHT AMBIENCE, SOUND OF NOCTURNAL INSECTS

FX:
HEAVY KNOCKING ON THE DOOR

NABETHA:
(INSIDE) Who’s that?

POTANI:
(VERY DRUNK) Your husband is here, come and welcome your husband.

NABETHA:
Where have you been?

POTANI:
Fending for the family. I have brought you goodies.

FX:
DOOR SCREECHES AGAINST THE FLOOR AS IT OPENS

NABETHA:
(SURPRISED) You said you had no money when you left …

POTANI:
Will you let me come in?

NABETHA:
Come in, of course, but I need to know where you got the money.

POTANI:
Is it not my duty to fend for you and the children?

NABETHA:
It is, of course … (PERSISTENT) but I need to know where the money comes from.

POTANI:
Do not worry about that.

NABETHA:
Let me shut the door.

FX:
DOOR SCREECHES CLOSED

POTANI:
(JOVIALLY) I have made one good decision for the good of the family.

NABETHA:
I hope you have not been to the loan sharks.

POTANI:
Of course not. Why borrow money when I can make clean money?

FX:
PLASTIC BAGS

NABETHA:
(SURPRISED) All these groceries – what is this?

POTANI:
I have bought you “china” plates.

NABETHA:
I will not enjoy this until I know where the money has come from.

POTANI:
Just be glad you married a man who thinks, a man who sees opportunities where other men can’t, and takes them.

NABETHA:
(SUSPICIOUS) I hope you are right.

POTANI:
That’s the problem. You don’t trust me.

NABETHA:
Trust is like a house; it must have a solid base for it to endure.

POTANI:
Where is my food?

NABETHA:
On the table, please.

FX:
SCENE TRANSITION MUSIC

SCENE THREE:
POTANI’S GARDEN

AMBIENCE:
VILLAGE FIELD AMBIENCE

NAMBEWE:
Good morning, Nabetha.

NABETHA:
Good morning, Nambewe.

NAMBEWE:
You are working alone today; where is your husband?

NABETHA:
He is nursing a headache at home.

NAMBEWE:
Isn’t it a hangover?

NABETHA:
You know Potani and his beer.

FX:
INTERMITTENT SOUND OF DIGGING

NAMBEWE:
But he is better than most men in the village. He does not drink during the peak of the farming season.

NABETHA:
You are right on that one.

NAMBEWE:
That is not the way we dig up groundnuts, Nabetha.

NABETHA:
How should I do it?

NAMBEWE:
Give me the hoe.

FX:
SOUND OF LIGHT HOEING

NAMBEWE:
You loosen the soil around the plant. Then you lift the plant up.

NABETHA:
That’s so easy. The bunch comes up with almost all the pods.

NAMBEWE:
But Nabetha, are your groundnuts ready for harvesting?

NABETHA:
I think so.

NAMBEWE:
How do you know?

NABETHA:
(UNSURE) I just know that they should be mature by now.

NAMBEWE:
Pluck some pods from that bunch and open them.

FX:
A POD POPS OPEN

NAMBEWE:
You see … the inside of this pod is white. The inside of a mature pod is brownish, or has dark spots.

NABETHA:
Really?

NAMBEWE:
Yes. Also, if the pod is mature, there is a crackling sound when you shake it. And make sure you know the days to maturity for the variety you plant. Harvesting immature groundnuts reduces your yield, and you don’t get good quality nuts.

NABETHA:
That could explain why last season’s yield was lower than I expected.

NAMBEWE:
Yes. If groundnuts are harvested too early, the kernels shrink when they dry. That causes losses in yield, poor seed quality and lower oil content.

NABETHA:
Thanks for coming by, Nambewe.

NAMBEWE: You should dig up nuts from different parts of the garden. When the nuts from seven out of 10 plants are mature, then you know that your groundnuts are ready for harvesting. Also, you should keep a record of the planting date, so you can trace the number of days to maturity for your variety.

NABETHA:
What do you mean, Nambewe? Please explain.

NAMBEWE:
Well, early-maturing varieties like Baka and Kakoma take 90 to 120 days to mature. Medium varieties such as CG7 and Nsinjiro take between 130 and 140 days to mature. And late-maturing varieties such as Chalimbana take 140-150 days to mature.

DYERATU:
(APPROACHES) Hey woman! What are you doing with my groundnuts?

NABETHA:
(ASTONISHED) Your groundnuts?

DYERATU:
I bought the groundnuts from your husband.

NABETHA:
We have not sold our groundnuts; they are not even mature.

DYERATU:
I bought the whole crop and paid your husband in full.

NABETHA:
That cannot happen. How much did you pay?

DYERATU:
Ask your husband.

NABETHA:
(FIRM) This is my garden, my groundnuts, and as a family we have not agreed to sell anything.

DYERATU:
(BOLDLY) Nobody messes with me.

NABETHA:
I was not part of the transaction to sell the groundnuts. So that transaction is not valid.

DYERATU:
(THREATENING) This is a warning; I do not want to see you in this garden again.

NABETHA:
(DEFIANT) You must be mad.

DYERATU:
(CHEEKY) It is you who are mad. That’s my garden you are working in, and there is nothing you can do about it.

NAMBEWE:
(QUIET VOICE) You do not know what happened, Nabetha. Just go home and check this man’s story with your husband.

NABETHA:
I think you are right, Nambewe.

FX:
SCENE TRANSITION MUSIC

SCENE FOUR:
AT POTANI’S HOUSE

AMBIENCE:
VILLAGE HOME AMBIENCE

NABETHA:
Potani, what did you do yesterday?

POTANI:
Yesterday? What do you mean?

NABETHA:
Where did you get the money for the groceries you brought?

POTANI:
Oh that? I forgot to tell you. I found a good market for our groundnuts and …

NABETHA:
(CUTS IN) How could you do this?

POTANI:
It saved us a lot of waiting. We no longer have to harvest, dry and package the groundnuts. We have saved a lot.

NABETHA:
(CURIOUS) How much have we saved?

POTANI:
We have saved on … on labour and … and on time and money for storage sacks.

NABETHA:
What quantity of groundnuts did you sell?

POTANI:
(MUTTERS) I don’t know.

NABETHA:
What was the price per kilo? (Editor’s note: It is common for farmers in Malawi to say “per kilo” meaning per kilogram)

POTANI:
I sold the groundnuts wholesale.

NABETHA:
(DEFEATED) Oh dear! How could you do that? You need to return that money to the man.

POTANI:
That is not possible. I have already used part of the money.

NABETHA:
I thought we had agreed to sell the groundnuts through the association. When we do that, we benefit from the collective bargaining the association does.

POTANI:
I couldn’t resist the man’s offer.

NABETHA:
(ANGRY) That offer does not benefit this family! I will not let that thug reap gold from my sweat. You will have to return the money first thing tomorrow.

POTANI:
(SCARED) How can I do that?

NABETHA:
Find a way!

SIGNATURE TUNE UP AND FADE UNDER NARRATOR’S VOICE, THEN FADE UP AFTER NARRATOR, HOLD FOR FIVE SECONDS, AND FADE OUT.

NARRATOR:
As we have heard in today’s episode, poor harvesting practices can cause losses of groundnuts. Farmers must take good care of their groundnuts throughout the farming period to fetch good prices. Also, poor marketing strategies can make farmers lose a lot of money.

Tune in again next week at the same time for the next episode in this series, all about the Mandela cock! It’s the best way to dry your groundnuts. Today’s program is produced by ___________ and brought to you courtesy of ____________.

Episode 2:
Groundnut harvesting, drying and storage: It is all in the demonstration

Note to broadcaster:
Episode two is an estimated 15-20 minutes long.

CHARACTERS:
Mamberera
Potani
Dyeratu
Nabetha
Mrs. NYENGOYASINTHA: Potani’s aunt, who is also Potani’s marriage counsellor. She reprimands Potani for unilaterally selling his family groundnut garden. She is supportive of Nabetha and teaches her how to properly dry her groundnuts with the Mandela cock.

NARRATOR:
Welcome once again to our three-part drama series on groundnut harvesting, drying and storage. In today’s episode, we learn that It is all in the demonstration. To learn how to best take care of your groundnuts, seek advice and guidance from experienced and expert farmers, government extension workers and NGO experts.

This episode introduces the Mandela cock. This technique gradually dries groundnuts by allowing air to flow through the cock and shading the pods from direct sunlight.

Most farmers are not aware of the Mandela cock and may be sceptical. Because of this, episode two focuses on the advantages and benefits of drying groundnuts with the Mandela cock.

You are with me, your host, ______. Stay tuned for the drama.

SCENE ONE:
AT THE MARKET PLACE

AMBIENCE:
MARKET AMBIENCE

MAMBERERA:
Hello, Potani.

POTANI:
(OVERWHELMED) Good afternoon, Mamberera.

MAMBERERA:
You look disturbed. What is the problem?

POTANI:
(FRUSTRATED) I do not know if it was the beer or something else … but yesterday, at the beer hall, I made a very big mistake.

MAMBERERA:
(WORRIED) Please, don’t tell me you sold your yet-to-be-harvested groundnuts to Dyeratu.

POTANI:
(DEFEATED) Unfortunately, I did.

MAMBERERA:
How could you be so carried away by that trickster?

POTANI:
I don’t know … Now my wife wants me to return the money to him.

MAMBERERA:
She is right.

POTANI:
But I used part of the money. (PAUSE) I was wondering if you have some money to spare.

MAMBERERA:
I do not have any money.

POTANI:
(PLEADS) I can see some banknotes in your shirt pocket.

MAMBERERA:
It’s for new sacks to store my groundnuts.

POTANI:
Don’t you have old ones that you can recycle? I urgently need 15,000 kwacha.

MAMBERERA:
I don’t have money to give away.

POTANI:
But I’ll pay you back next week.

MAMBERERA:
(A LITTLE FRUSTRATED) Even if I had some money to spare, I wouldn’t give it to you … because I warned you. But you chose not to listen.

POTANI:
My wife wants us to keep our garden.

MAMBERERA:
Did you consult her before you got the money from Dyeratu?

POTANI:
I did not.

MAMBERERA:
That was selfish. You don’t make a unilateral decision on a family garden. You worked as a family to grow the groundnuts – and now you want to make all the marketing decisions alone?

POTANI:
But that’s why I want to correct the situation!

DYERATU:
(COMING ON-MIC, ANGRY) Hey, Potani, what do you think you are doing?

POTANI:
What are you talking about?

DYERATU:
What was your wife doing in the groundnut garden yesterday?

POTANI:
(HESITANTLY) Actually … that is the reason I was looking for you.

DYERATU:
I demand an apology. I paid you in full, didn’t I?

POTANI:
(APOLOGETIC) You did, of course … but now I think I made a mistake selling you the garden. I want to return the money.

DYERATU:
(LAUGHS SARCASTICALLY) That cannot happen.

POTANI:
My wife is not happy with the deal.

DYERATU:
You should have talked with your wife before I gave you the money.

POTANI:
I don’t need the money anymore.

DYERATU:
Ahhh … But that does not even look like the whole amount I gave you.

POTANI:
I will bring the rest later.

DYERATU:
(SPEAKS WITH FINALITY) Once a deal is sealed, there is no going back on it. Even if you had brought the full amount, I wouldn’t have taken it.

POTANI:
I have a right to change my mind!

DYERATU:
Never mind that. I do not want to see your wife in that garden again, and I do not want you to pester me again …

POTANI:
I will leave your money here on the ground.

DYERATU:
You can leave it there, but everyone here can see that you have not given it to me.

POTANI:
You are just standing there watching, Mamberera. Do something!

MAMBERERA:
I wasn’t there when you accepted the money; I do not know what you agreed.

DYERATU:
I am not stupid, Potani. I get what I want. What can you do? You report me anywhere.

MAMBERERA:
I told you not to be taken in by his offer, but you wouldn’t listen.

POTANI:
I know what I will do.

DYERATU:
(THREATENING) Dare me and I will teach you a severe lesson in respecting agreements.

FX:
SCENE TRANSITION MUSIC

SCENE TWO:
AT POTANI’S HOUSE

AMBIENCE:
HOME AMBIENCE

NABETHA:
So, how did it go?

POTANI:
(ANXIOUS) I wasn’t successful.

NABETHA:
What do you mean?

POTANI:
Dyeratu refused to take the money.

NABETHA:
Why?

POTANI:
I didn’t have the whole amount.

NABETHA:
(FRUSTRATED) So what do we do now?

POTANI:
As long as I have the money, the groundnuts remain his.

NABETHA:
Go and return the groceries you brought. Sell them if you want, but I need that groundnut garden back in our hands.

POTANI:
But he says that even if I had all the money, he wouldn’t take it.

NABETHA:
(ANGRY) See where this has gotten us now!

POTANI:
But I did this for the good of the family.

NABETHA:
What good is it doing us now?

POTANI:
It’s all because you think his offer wasn’t good enough.

NABETHA:
What kind of business is it where the seller does not know how much goods he has sold and the unit price?

POTANI:
I have sold two acres of groundnuts.

NABETHA:
Do we sell groundnuts per acre? How many KGs did you sell, and at what price per KG?

POTANI:
(MUTTERS) There are so many ways of selling things …

NABETHA:
(FIRMLY) Some ways are bad and others are good. And yours was a very bad one.

POTANI:
I need to have the full amount of money if I want to confront him again.

NABETHA:
Why didn’t you want us to talk first before you accepted his money?

POTANI:
I assumed you would see things the way I did.

NABETHA:
(BITTER) We worked hard together to grow the groundnuts, waking up early in the morning, sweating in the scorching sun … And now when it comes to selling, you want to do it alone?

POTANI:
(WEAK VOICE) I thought I would explain this later.

NABETHA:
We used to sit together as a family and plan how we would work on the farm. Why can’t we do the same when deciding what, how much, when and at what price to sell our harvest?

POTANI:
I am sorry.

NABETHA:
We are farmers and we should approach farming as a business!

POTANI:
That is why I took Dyeratu’s business offer.

NABETHA:
If we are to do farming as a business, we need to know what is in demand and how to get a better price.

POTANI:
We know there is a good market for groundnuts.

NABETHA:
This is our first season growing groundnuts. We need to learn the tricks of the trade from those that have done it for years.

POTANI:
You are right.

NABETHA:
Most farmers in Malawi have not benefited from their crops. They have harvested poorly, stored the harvest poorly, packaged it poorly, and marketed it poorly.

POTANI:
You think we will get better prices than what we got from Dyeratu?

NABETHA:
Through group marketing, we can get better prices.

POTANI:
How?

NABETHA:
Think about this: Where do vendors like Dyeratu sell the groundnuts they buy from farmers like us?

POTANI:
To big companies.

NABETHA:
Why can’t we sell to the same big companies?

POTANI:
I think you are right.

NABETHA:
We need to get the best prices for us to profit from our sweat. We need to earn more each year to improve our lives. We need good prices to give our children a good life.

POTANI:
Yes, you are right.

NABETHA:
(GOING OFF-MIC) (WITH FINALITY) I will do anything to protect my family. You have failed me, Potani!

POTANI:
Where are you going?

NABETHA:
(OFF-MIC) To fight for my garden.

FX:
SCENE TRANSITION MUSIC

SCENE THREE:
IN NYENGO’S GARDEN

AMBIENCE:
VILLAGE FIELD AMBIENCE

FX:
INTERMITTENT SOUND OF LIGHT DIGGING (DIGS FOUR OR FIVE TIMES, THEN STOPS, STARTS AGAIN, ETC.)

NABETHA:
Good morning, Aunt Nyengoyasintha.

MRS. NYENGO:
Good morning, Nabetha.

NABETHA:
How is the family?

MRS. NYENGO:
We are all fine here. How are Potani and the children?

NABETHA:
They are fine too.

MRS. NYENGO:
You have forgotten to bring my hat again.

NABETHA:
Oh sorry, how could I forget that again?

MRS. NYENGO:
I knew you would forget it.

NABETHA:
I will bring it next time I come.

MRS. NYENGO:
No, I will come collect it myself. I want to wear it to my granddaughter’s naming ceremony next Sunday.

NABETHA:
Then let me send my son to bring it.

MRS. NYENGO:
You could have done that a long time ago.

NABETHA:
(PAUSE) Let me help you dig your groundnuts.

MRS. NYENGO:
You know how it is done?

NABETHA:
Nambewe taught me how to do it; you dig lightly around the plant to loosen the soil so that you can lift the plant by hand. That way, you do not lose pods.

MRS. NYENGO:
You are right.

NABETHA:
But are your groundnuts mature?

MRS. NYENGO:
You can pop one pod and see.

FX:
GROUNDNUT POD POPS OPEN

MRS. NYENGO:
You see, it is brown inside. You see these brownish patterns and the dark spots … that means it is mature. I planted with the first rains so my crop was ahead of the rest.

NABETHA:
Why are you stacking it in heaps?

MRS. NYENGO:
These are not ordinary heaps, Nabetha … they are called Mandela cocks.

NABETHA:
Mandela cocks?

MRS. NYENGO:
It is a way of drying groundnuts aided by the wind. Mandela cocks allow air to flow inside the heap. That removes moisture from the pods without exposing them to the direct sun.

NABETHA:
So you make the heap on that raised platform?

MRS. NYENGO:
Yes, and when it rains, the water falls on the leaves and flows away from the raised platform. Because the pods face inside, they are protected from the rain by the leaves.

NABETHA:
Yes, I can see the pods are facing inside.

MRS. NYENGO:
And the pods are not visible to birds, livestock and other predators. So they are protected.

NABETHA:
How long does it take for the groundnuts to dry fully?

MRS. NYENGO:
They are dry and ready for picking once the pods can be removed from the stems without causing long shreds to form on the pods. Because the groundnuts are gradually dried by the flowing air, it takes 14-21 days or two to four weeks to reach the recommended moisture content, depending on the weather conditions. This gives you time to attend to other crops like maize.

NABETHA:
It looks like a smart way to dry the groundnuts, and it should make picking easy.

MRS. NYENGO:
Yes. You just move from one heap to another as you harvest.

NABETHA:
I will invite you to my garden for a demonstration when I start harvesting my groundnuts.

MRS. NYENGO:
Whenever you are ready. If I am not available, ask Nambewe or invite the extension worker to help you.

NABETHA:
(HESITATES) That reminds me why I came here.

MRS. NYENGO:
So you did not just come to see me …

NABETHA:
Potani has sold our groundnuts to Dyeratu.

MRS. NYENGO:
You mean Dyeratu, this crook who buys people’s crops before harvest?

NABETHA:
Yes.

MRS. NYENGO:
How could he do that?

NABETHA:
That is what I cannot understand.

MRS. NYENGO:
Dyeratu is a thief.

NABETHA:
I told my husband to return the money to Dyeratu, but Dyeratu refused the money because Potani had already used some of it.

MRS. NYENGO:
I didn’t know that Potani was such a fool.

NABETHA:
I have come to you as our marriage counsellor because I don’t want trouble. I want my groundnuts back.

MRS. NYENGO:
What he has done is unacceptable.

NABETHA:
I will leave this marriage if I don’t get my garden back.

MRS. NYENGO:
I will talk to him.

NABETHA:
(DISBELIEVING) Imagine Dyeratu threatening me that I can’t work in my own garden!

MRS. NYENGO:
Don’t worry; I will talk to Potani.

FX:
SCENE TRANSITION MUSIC

SCENE FOUR:
POTANI’S GARDEN

AMBIENCE:
VILLAGE FIELD AMBIENCE

POTANI:
(ANNOYED) Why are you embarrassing me like this, Nabetha?

NABETHA:
Embarrassing you?

POTANI:
Why must you take every issue to Aunt Nyengoyasintha?

NABETHA:
I told you I will do anything to recover this garden.

POTANI:
I am tired of her shouting at me like I’m a kid.

NABETHA:
I went to her as our marriage counsellor.

POTANI:
Did we not start sorting out the issue?

NABETHA:
But there has been no progress. Have you returned the money to Dyeratu?

POTANI:
I don’t have all the money.

NABETHA:
What are you doing to raise the money?

POTANI:
I am trying.

NABETHA:
You are trying? Do you want to delay until Dyeratu starts harvesting the groundnuts?

POTANI:
Who told you he will start harvesting the groundnuts?

NABETHA:
(OUTRAGED) These groundnuts can change our lives! All we need is to harvest them well, dry them properly, and package and store them properly.

POTANI:
You have told me that so many times.

NABETHA:
I am repeating it because it seems you do not understand the urgency of redeeming the garden!

POTANI:
(ANGRY) I am trying my best!

NABETHA:
Don’t vent your anger on me. Vent it on Dyeratu. He is coming – look over there.

POTANI:
(STARTLED) Where?

NABETHA:
You are running away and leaving your wife behind?

POTANI:
(OFF-MIC) I don’t want him to find me here.

MUSIC
SIGNATURE TUNE UP AND FADE UNDER NARRATOR’S VOICE, THEN FADE UP AFTER NARRATOR, HOLD FOR FIVE SECONDS, AND FADE OUT.

NARRATOR:
That’s it for today’s episode. Proper drying of groundnuts is very important, and the Mandela cock is not only user-friendly but very effective in drying groundnuts because it protects the pods from rainwater because the leaves channel water away. The raised platform on which the cock is built allows rainwater to flow away from the groundnuts. This prevents the build-up of moisture that could create a good environment for fungus and mould, which leads to aflatoxin contamination. Because the pods are not visible to birds, livestock and other pests, the groundnuts are protected.

Seek out people with the know-how to guide you through the processes of harvesting, drying and storing your groundnuts. They can help you get quality groundnuts for household use and for sale.

Tune in again next week, same time, when we bring you the last episode of this three-part series. The program is produced by ___________ and brought to you courtesy of ____________.

Episode 3:
Groundnut harvesting, drying and storage: When you see a pit from afar, you can jump across.

Note to broadcaster:
Episode three is an estimated 15-20 minutes long.

CHARACTERS:
Dyeratu
Nabetha
Village Chief: Very understanding chief. He has the welfare of his subjects at heart. He rejects Dyeratu’s bribes. He shares his experience with groundnut harvesting, drying and storage with Nabetha.
Mrs. Nyengoyasintha
Mangani: Chief’s counsellor
Nambewe
Policeman

MUSIC
SIGNATURE TUNE UP AND HOLD FOR 10 SECONDS, THEN FADE DOWN AND HOLD UNDER NARRATOR.

NARRATOR:
Welcome to the third and last episode of our series on groundnut harvesting, drying and storage. In the previous episode, we learnt about the advantages of drying groundnuts with the Mandela cock. In today’s episode, we learn the steps for building the Mandela cock, and how to store groundnuts to reduce post-harvest losses and aflatoxin contamination. Stay tuned for the drama.

SCENE ONE: AT POTANI’S GARDEN

DYERATU:
(THREATENING TONE THROUGHOUT THIS SCENE) What did I tell you, Mrs. Potani?

NABETHA:
(FIRM) This is my garden and nobody can take it away from me.

DYERATU:
You want this fight to go physical?

NABETHA:
Now you are threatening me?

DYERATU:
I bought this garden. These groundnuts belong to me!

NABETHA:
I did not get any money from you, and I did not sell my share of this garden to anybody.

DYERATU:
You want me to physically get you out of this …?

NABETHA:
(INTERRUPTS DYERATU, ANNOYED) Keep your hands off me; that is going over your limits.

DYERATU:
What makes you think you can reverse the transaction I made with your husband?

NABETHA:
(EMPHATICALLY) I have laboured to grow these groundnuts, waking up early in the morning … you cannot just come from nowhere and say these are your groundnuts.

DYERATU:
I paid your husband.

NABETHA:
This is not my husband’s garden.

DYERATU:
Then whose is it?

NABETHA:
It is a family garden and no single person can make a decision about it.

DYERATU:
I made a deal with your husband.

NABETHA:
(ANGRY) We sell groundnuts in kilos. Now tell me, how many kilos of groundnuts did you buy from my husband, and how much did you pay per kilos?

DYERATU:
I paid a wholesale price.

NABETHA:
Tell me the wholesale price per kilo.

DYERATU:
I agreed on that with your husband.

NABETHA:
(RESOLUTELY) I will not give up this garden! I will continue tending my groundnuts and I will fight for my garden.

DYERATU:
Ok, keep looking after my groundnuts and we will see where that will get you.

FX:
SCENE TRANSITION MUSIC

SCENE TWO:
CHIEF’S PLACE

AMBIENCE:
VILLAGE HOME AMBIENCE

FX:
SOUND OF GOATS BLEATING, CHICKENS AND BIRDS

FX:
SOUND OF WOOD BEING CUT WITH AN AXE

NABETHA:
Good afternoon, Chief.

CHIEF:
Good afternoon, Nabetha.

NABETHA:
How is the family?

CHIEF:
We are all well.

NABETHA:
Busy busy.

CHIEF:
I’m preparing to harvest my groundnuts, so I have to make the storage place ready.

NABETHA:
What do those logs over there have to do with storage?

CHIEF:
I cannot keep the bags of groundnuts on the floor. They would absorb moisture and grow mound and fungi. This would lead to aflatoxin contamination and spoil my groundnuts. So I make a small rack and put the bags of groundnuts on it.

NABETHA:
Really?

CHIEF:
Moisture can ruin your groundnuts and make you lose your harvest.

NABETHA:
And what a loss that would be!

CHIEF:
A lot of produce is lost after harvest because we do not store our produce properly. Aflatoxin contamination means that the groundnuts cannot be sold to lucrative markets outside Malawi, like those in Europe.

NABETHA:
You are right, Chief.

CHIEF:
The rack allows for free air circulation …

NABETHA:
(CUTS IN) … which helps to keep the room cool and dry?

CHIEF:
Exactly! Make sure that you store your groundnuts in a cool dry place away from rodents, poultry and other animals.

NABETHA:
I didn’t know about that.

CHIEF:
One more thing.

NABETHA:
What, Chief?

CHIEF:
Put your groundnuts in properly cleaned bags which do not give off any bad or foreign smells, and do not contain undesirable chemicals and foreign matter – like dirt or insects.

NABETHA:
I know groundnuts easily pick up smells.

CHIEF:
It is because of the oils inside them. You should not keep things with strong smells near groundnuts.

NABETHA:
I came here for other business, but I have learnt a lot.

CHIEF:
Forgive me; I did not ask why you visited.

NABETHA:
I am also growing groundnuts for the first time, and I have learnt a lot about how I can take care of my crop.

CHIEF:
Can I help you then?

NABETHA:
Yes. It is about my groundnuts. Potani sold the groundnuts to Dyeratu, a vendor who is buying grains in the village.

CHIEF:
Have you already harvested your groundnuts?

NABETHA:
No, he sold the unharvested groundnuts.

CHIEF:
How?

NABETHA:
I do not know, but Potani got payment from Dyeratu. I told him to return the money but he has failed.

CHIEF:
Just as wives are involved in farming, they should be involved in marketing and using the proceeds from farming.

NABETHA:
That is what I thought Potani would do – consult me before accepting Dyeratu’s offer.

CHIEF:
Groundnuts are sold per kilo. How did Dyeratu measure the amount of groundnuts he paid for?

NABETHA:
I don’t know. Dyeratu has threatened to deal with me whenever he finds me working in the garden.

CHIEF:
That’s criminal!

NABETHA:
I need your help, Chief.

CHIEF:
I will handle him. I know what to do.

DYERATU:
(APPROACHING) Good afternoon, Chief.

CHIEF:
It’s you, Dyeratu.

DYERATU:
I just came to give my Chief some groceries.

CHIEF:
(PLEASED) Oh! Thanks so much.

DYERATU:
Sorry, I just bought what I thought you would like; I didn’t ask what you needed.

CHIEF:
This is a nice surprise.

DYERATU:
There are some loaves of bread, margarine, and cooking oil.

CHIEF:
(EXCITED) I can see bathing soap, some detergent, salt and sugar. I couldn’t ask for more. Let me take these inside.

NABETHA:
I will be on my way, Chief.

CHIEF:
(GOING OFF-MIC) I will tell you what I have decided.

NABETHA:
Thank you, Chief.

DYERATU:
(DEFIANTLY) You cannot play with me; let’s see if the Chief will act on your complaint.

NABETHA:
(ANGRY) This is just one battle, the war is still on.

FX:
SCENE TRANSITION MUSIC

SCENE 3:
POTANI’S GARDEN

AMBIENCE:
VILLAGE FIELD AMBIENCE

AUNT:
You kept me waiting here in your garden, Nabetha.

NABETHA:
I am sorry, Aunt Nyengoyasintha. I was at the Chief’s place to ask him to help redeem this groundnut garden from Dyeratu.

AUNT:
And how did it go?

NABETHA:
You would not believe what happened at the Chief’s place!

AUNT:
What?

NABETHA:
Dyeratu came and bribed the Chief right in my face.

AUNT:
What?

NABETHA:
I have never been so shocked.

AUNT:
Have our chiefs become so greedy?

NABETHA:
Not all chiefs are like that. I believe there are many good chiefs whose good names are being spoilt by chiefs like ours.

AUNT:
What are you going to do now?

NABETHA:
I don’t know.

AUNT:
Maybe you should report Dyeratu to the police.

NABETHA:
Will that help?

AUNT:
It should. (PAUSE) But let’s start on what I came here to do.

NABETHA:
Ok.

AUNT:
I asked you to make a platform of a little more than one metre in diameter and 30 centimetres in height.

NABETHA:
I did; it is right there.

AUNT:
Now tell me why you need that platform.

NABETHA:
You said it ensures that water will not collect and soak the groundnuts if it rains when the groundnuts are still in the cock.

AUNT:
Yes. Did you bring the materials for building the Mandela cock?

NABETHA:
You said I need a metre stick, and a string for measuring the diameter of the cock. I have measured the stick with a ruler to ensure that the length is accurate.

AUNT:
Good. That is all you need to construct a Mandela cock.

NABETHA:
Here is the platform, Aunt.

AUNT:
So you tie a stick at each end of a half metre rope … then you attach one end of the rope to the centre of the platform and you use the other end to draw a circle.

NABETHA:
Let me tie the stick to this end….

AUNT:
That’s right … then measure the rope so it is 50 centimetres or half a metre.

NABETHA:
Ok.

AUNT:
(PAUSE) Good. Now tie the other stick at the other end of the rope. Then attach one end of the rope to the centre of the platform and draw a circle with the other end.

NABETHA:
Let me do it.

AUNT:
The Mandela cock allows groundnuts to dry slowly from the air that flows inside the heap. That air removes moisture from the pods without exposing them to direct sun.

NABETHA:
Yes, that is what Nambewe said.

AUNT:
And because the pods face the inside of the Mandela cock, they are protected. They are not visible to birds, livestock and other pests.

NABETHA:
I have drawn the circle, Aunt.

AUNT:
Now we place the lifted bunches of groundnuts around the circle in order to form a solid base for the cock. Make sure that the leaves touch the ground and the pods face up.

NABETHA:
The pods face up?

AUNT:
Yes, but on all the other rows, the pods should be on the inside of the circle and the leaves on the outside.

NABETHA:
I get it.

AUNT:
Keep reducing the size of the circle with each row until you have a small opening at the top. You will then cover that opening with one bunch of groundnuts.

NABETHA:
So the circles get smaller as the cock rises?

AUNT:
Exactly. At the end, the cock should be about one or one and a half metres high.

NABETHA:
Ok.

AUNT:
(PAUSE) Good. Now close the top opening with one bunch of groundnuts.

NABETHA: This is easy to do.

AUNT: That’s the Mandela cock.

MANGANI: (APPROACHES) Good afternoon, Mrs. Potani.

NABETHA: Good afternoon, Mangani.

MANGANI: Good afternoon, Mrs. Nyengoyasintha.

AUNT: Good afternoon, Mangani.

MANGANI: The Chief says he will handle your complaint tomorrow morning at 10. He expects your presence.

NABETHA: (RESIGNED, WITH A SIGH) I’ll see if I can make it.

MANGANI: (GOING AWAY) You know the consequences of not heeding the Chief’s call.

NABETHA: Hmm! What should I do, Aunt?

AUNT: Go and hear what he wants to say.

NABETHA: (ANGRY) I will meet Dyeratu and the Chief head on if the hearing turns out to be a sham.

AUNT: You have to calm down, consider your arguments. Try to avoid getting too emotional.

FX: SCENE TRANSITION MUSIC

SCENE FOUR: CHIEF’S PLACE

AMBIENCE: VILLAGE FIELD AMBIENCE

NABETHA: Good morning, Chief.

CHIEF: Good morning, Nambewe.

NAMBEWE: How are you, Chief?

CHIEF: I am good; how are you?

NAMBEWE: I am very well.

NABETHA: You called for me, Chief.

CHIEF: I did, but we have to wait for the others to come.

NABETHA: Thank you, Chief.

NAMBEWE: You are already shelling your groundnuts?

CHIEF: These are last year’s groundnuts. Someone bought unshelled groundnuts from me and never came to pick them. Now he wants me to shell and grade them for him.

NAMBEWE: How do you grade groundnuts?

CHIEF: It’s simple. First, you remove all non-groundnut materials – things like leaves, empty shells and other debris. Then you remove any shrivelled, rotten and mouldy groundnuts. But these must not be eaten or fed to animals.

NAMBEWE: Why?

CHIEF: They may contain aflatoxin and cause sickness.

NAMBEWE: I see.

CHIEF: Next, remove all broken or split nuts. These can be used later to make nsinjiro (groundnut flour) or for extracting oil. Then you sort the groundnuts according to colour and variety.

NAMBEWE: So you cannot mix Chalimbana groundnuts with CG7 or other types?

CHIEF: Exactly. And finally, you sort the groundnuts according to size so that large ones are separated from smaller ones.

NAMBEWE: So last year’s groundnuts are in good condition?

CHIEF: Yes. If you store them properly, especially unshelled, they can stay in a good state for a very long time.

NABETHA: Ok.

CHIEF: Let me show you my groundnut storage place.

NABETHA: Really?

CHIEF: As a serious farmer, I cannot afford to lose my harvest in storage.

FX: DOOR TO STORAGE AREA OPENS

CHIEF: You may come in.

NABETHA and

NAMBEWE: Thank you, Chief.

CHIEF: You see what I have done with the logs I was cutting the other day?

NABETHA: Yes, Chief.

CHIEF: They are on the floor and I have laid the poles on them to make a rack. Then I put my bags of groundnuts on the rack.

NABETHA: The room looks tidy and clean.

CHIEF: It has to be free from rodents. You can see the floors and the walls are well-sealed.

NABETHA: And these are last year’s groundnuts?

CHIEF: Yes. A trader paid for them and never came back to pick them.

NAMBEWE: And the groundnuts are still in a good state?

CHIEF: Just as you can see.

POLICEMAN: (OFF-MIC) Hello, Chief.

CHIEF: Let’s go outside and meet them.

FX: DOOR CLOSES

CHIEF: Hello, officer.

POLICEMAN: Hello, Chief.

CHIEF: This is Nabetha and Nambewe. Nabetha and Nambewe, this is Constable Chitani.

POLICEMAN: Nabetha, do you know this man over here?

NABETHA: He is Dyeratu, the man that has been threatening me in my own garden. He convinced my husband to sell him unharvested groundnuts.

POLICEMAN: There have been a lot of complaints against him, including intimidation and bribery. He tried to bribe the Chief, but the Chief reported the issue to us.

NABETHA: Really?

CHIEF: You remember that day he came here with presents?

NABETHA: Yes, I left when you took the groceries inside.

CHIEF: When I came out, he said he brought the presents so that I would ignore your complaint.

NABETHA: Thanks so much. I left this place very shocked; I thought you had fallen into their trap.

CHIEF: What Dyeratu is doing is pure exploitation of a poor farmer.

POLICEMAN: And he has no right to intimidate or threaten anybody.

NABETHA: All I need is my garden back.

POLICEMAN: Come to the police station so that we can record your statement. Tell your husband to bring the money to redeem your garden.

NABETHA: (EXCITED) Thanks so much, Chief!

SIGNATURE TUNE UP AND FADE UNDER NARRATOR’S VOICE, THEN FADE UP AFTER NARRATOR, HOLD FOR FIVE SECONDS, AND FADE OUT.

NARRATOR: Well, it is good that justice prevailed in the end. Listeners, you have heard it for yourself: we need to prepare in advance for each stage of groundnut farming. That way, we can avoid aflatoxin contamination and reduce post-harvest losses. We can also avoid selling our groundnuts to crooks and lose money. Remember, you can only jump over a pit when you see it from afar.

This was the last episode in this three-part drama series. Thank you so much for keenly following our story. We hope you have learnt valuable tips and techniques that will help you produce quality groundnuts and sell them profitably.

If you have questions on groundnut harvesting, drying and storage, please call or send an SMS to_________________. This series has been produced by ___________ and brought to you courtesy of ____________.

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Charles Simbi

Reviewed by: Dr. Justus Chintu, Research Scientist (groundnut breeding), Department of Agricultural Research Services, and Dr. Philip Kamwendo, Project Coordinator-Consultant, IFAD-SPIP, c\o Rural Livelihoods and Economic Enhancement Programme (RLEEP).

Information Sources

Interviews with:

  1. Winston Fulu of NASFAM, National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi-Lilongwe.
  2. Chapitapadera Mwale, expert farmer, Mabiri, Mzimba District.
  3. Dr. Philip Kamwendo, Project Coordinator-Consultant, IFAD-SPIP, c\o Rural Livelihoods and Economic Enhancement Programme (RLEEP)

Reference

BR Ntare, AT Diallo, J Ndjeunga and F. Waliyar, 2008. Groundnut Seed Production Manual. Patancheru 502 324, Andhra Pradesh, India: International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). 22pp. http://www.icrisat.org/Publications/EBooksOnlinePublications/Publications-2008/Ground_seedproduction_English.pdf  (2 MB)

For other references, please see the list of resources in the Issue pack.

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