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Script 99.7

Notes to broadcasters

This script focuses on two major crops in the Ada’a and Akaki woredas (districts) of the Oromia region in central Ethiopia – chickpeas and lentils.

It focuses on the problems Ethiopian farmers face with pests and diseases in these crops. It also mentions radio programs that were broadcast on Oromia Radio on integrated pest management for these crops. The script is based on interviews with farmers, an agronomist and a development agent.

You could use this script as inspiration to research and write a script on integrated pest management 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.

If you choose to use this script as background material or as inspiration for creating your own program, you might consider the following questions:

• What pest or disease problems do farmers in your area face? What resources and what solutions have they found to deal with these problems?
• What role does the radio and do extension agents play in addressing these problems? How can your radio station more effectively help farmers? How can you work with extension agents and other experts to help farmers?

Apart from speaking directly to farmers and other key players in the local agriculture sector, you could host a phone-in or text-in program on pest and disease management. You could invite a pest management expert, including experienced farmers, to respond to callers’ questions on the air.

Estimated running time for this script with intro and outro music is 15 minutes.

Script

SIGNATURE TUNE UP THEN UNDER

HOST:
In Ada’a woreda, in the East Shoa zone of Oromia region in central Ethiopia, chickpeas and lentils are major crops and account for 30% of farm production. The major challenge that local farmers face with these crops is pests. So Oromia Radio produced a series of radio programs on integrated pest management in lentils and chickpeas. We talked to farmers, a development agent, and a broadcaster to hear their successes and challenges with pest management and to determine the impact of the radio program on farmers.

(PAUSE AND APPROPRIATE RURAL SOUND EFFECTS) We arrived at a farming village in Ada’a woreda in the early morning, after travelling through some of the major chickpea and lentil growing areas of Ethiopia. Our first destination was the office of a farmers’ association, which also acts as a store for fertilizer. Here we met a farmer named Girma Gurmecha.

HOST:
Which crops are most profitable in this area, Mr. Gurmecha?

GIRMA GURMECHA:
Our woreda is well known for teff, chickpeas and lentils. If we produce these with good quality, we will be successful.

HOST:
What problems do you have with these crops?

GIRMA GURMECHA:
Our lentil yield suffers from pests.

HOST:
What do you do to manage pests?

GIRMA GURMECHA:
We use biological methods like early ploughing, monitoring our crops for pests, and other approaches, and pesticides are our last option. We have started to plough four or five times with animal traction before sowing.

HOST:
Thank you. Listeners, multiple ploughing immediately after harvest is a recommended method for farmers in this area. Ploughing at this time manages pests that spend part of their life in their soil, pests such as pod borers and cutworms.

SFX:
SOUND OF MOTOR BIKE, THEN FADE

HOST:
I am riding on a motor bike towards another farmers’ house. As I ride, I see that the farms along the side of the road have been prepared for sowing. I found Menghesha Abera at the fertilizer distribution centre, and accompanied him to his farm.

How are you? How is the rain this year?

MENGESHA ABERA:
I am fine. The rains have come late this year.

HOST:
How many times do you plough your field?

MENGESHA ABERA:
I ploughed this field four times.

HOST:
Does this practice help you?

MENGESHA ABERA:
We can increase yield by preparing land early. In the past, we ploughed the land only at this time of year. But it has been a month since we ploughed and prepared the land.
HOST:
What was the result of ploughing several times?

MENGESHA ABERA:
It helped us to prevent pests such as pod borers and cutworms.

HOST:
Which crop is most vulnerable to pests?

MENGESHA ABERA:
The one most affected is lentils. Although we have information on how to use preventive methods, we have not been able to manage pests in lentils.

HOST:
Have you tried methods other than pesticides?

MENGESHA ABERA:
We understand that weeding, monitoring for pests and ploughing repeatedly are natural pest control methods. And so we are using them.

HOST:
There was a radio program on integrated pest management methods. What did you learn from the program?

MENGESHA ABERA:
I learned that I should use natural preventive methods together with modern pesticides.

HOST:
Listeners, there are a variety of methods for managing pests. For example, planting chickpeas early can minimize damage from pests which are more active later in the season, such as pod borers, cut worms, and aphids. It’s also a good idea to avoid spacing your crops too closely together. Agricultural research has shown that chickpea plants that are too close together have higher numbers of pod borer pests.

TRANSITION MUSIC FOR A FEW SECONDS

HOST:
Next, I spoke with Teshome Amenu. He says the information farmers get from agriculture experts and from radio programs is providing them with quick solutions.

Farmer Teshome prepared his farm before sowing because he knows that this helps prevent weeds and pests. He has already bought pesticides. Mr. Teshome and other local farmers used to sow chickpeas and lentils as they do when they sow teff, without repeatedly ploughing the land to soften the earth and manage pests.

HOST:
How do you prepare your land now?

TESHOME:
The weed problem used to be severe because we did not plough the land repeatedly. Now we do better land preparation to prevent weeds. We have been taught to always consider the life stage of pests and to control pests early. Once the pests are fully grown, the chemicals will not destroy them.

HOST:
Teshome mentioned the importance of controlling pests early. It’s important the farmers regularly monitor the status of their crops by inspecting their fields. This is the only way to ensure that they can detect pests early and take steps to manage them.

One method of managing pests is simply to hand pick the pests and dispose of them. This works best during peak pest feeding times early in the morning and late in the afternoon. However, this only works when pest populations are low – which again emphasizes that farmers must inspect crops early and regularly.

Other farmers we talked to spoke of disease and weed pressure on their lentils. Some told us about a disease they are unfamiliar with which is turning the leaves yellow. Mr. Teshome had a similar experience.

TESHOME:
Unless we spray repeatedly with chemicals, it is becoming difficult to harvest lentils. Some of the chemicals are not even effective. In my opinion, the disease gets worse when we do not employ natural methods to tend to the crop.

HOST:
There was a three-month radio program on integrated pest management. Did you benefit from the program?

TESHOME:
It has mainly helped my friends and I to develop the habit of listening to the radio. We understand now that we can get different types of information from the radio.

HOST:
I also talked to female farmer Mintwab Bekele. What is the main problem you face in growing lentils?

MINTWAB After sowing, sometimes the plants wither. We have not seen that before, and have been unable to stop it. We fight the pests that cause the withering by spraying chemicals. But we have not been able to find any remedy for the disease that dries the lentils: it is our main problem.

HOST:
What solutions did you attempt on your own?

MINTWAB When we use chemicals for the pests, the disease that dries the leaves occurs only now and then. But we have not found any solution. Because most of us share the problem, we are asking the Agriculture Bureau to find a solution for us.

BRIDGE MUSIC FOR A FEW SECONDS

HOST:
Farmers in Akaki and Ada’a woredas say they get information in two ways about disease and pest problems in their lentils and chickpeas: the radio and advice from experts.

One female farmer in Akaki woreda, Mulu Gemeda, told us that she had benefited from the radio program.

MULU:
Previously when we encountered disease and weed problems, we approached agriculture experts urgently and expected solutions from them. But the radio program helped us a lot.

HOST:
What lessons did you learn from the program?

MULU I realize that the land has to be ploughed repeatedly, that I should check for weeds continuously, and I learned how to use chemicals.

HOST:
How should chemicals be used?

MULU The experts told us that if we do not use the chemicals as soon as the pests occur, it will not kill them.

HOST:
To clarify for our listeners, when Mulu Gemeda spoke about applying chemicals as soon as pests appear, he was speaking in particular about the larval worm of the pod borer, which attacks the stems of the crops. It’s important for farmers to control this pest as soon as they see it in their fields.

Girma Gurmecha from Ada’a woreda also spoke about the radio program. What did you understand from the radio program, Mr. Gurmecha?

GIRMA:
I understood that monitoring for pests before they have invaded my crop is a natural method of prevention. We need to visit our crops regularly. Previously, we did not actively monitor our crops.

HOST:
We have heard the opinions, experiences and activities of chickpea and lentil growers. Next, we will speak with Ato Addisu Assefa, a plant science expert and development worker in Ada’a woreda. Lentils and chickpeas are widely grown where he works. He describes the problems these crops face.

ADDISU:
Diseases are spreading. We are seeing new diseases, particularly on chickpeas, diseases such as rust. Lentil yields are decreasing. If the problem persists, local farmers will stop growing lentils altogether.

HOST:
Ato Demesu Lemma is an agronomist in Ada’a woreda who works mainly on farmers’ problems.

What is the main problem that lentils and chickpeas face?

DEMES:
Crop pests are the most important problem. Diseases are also spreading.
HOST:
What measures have you taken to address these problems?

DEMES:
The woreda ensures that farmers know proper agronomic practices. We train farmers and agriculture experts. We advise the community that good agronomic practices include preparing land on time and properly, sowing on time, weeding, and using improved seeds.

HOST:
How widely have integrated weed and pest management been implemented?

DEMES:
We give trainings continuously. The gaps in implementing these practices are because of traditional practices that were used previously, so a lot remains to be done.

HOST:
There is one more way that farmers may be able to minimize pest damage to their chickpea and lentil crops here in Ethiopia. If they grow sunflower, linseed, mustard or coriander in the fields at the same time as chickpeas and lentils, this can minimize the damage to these crops. Farmers can either plant strips of these crops at intervals through the field, or they can plant them in the same row. This is especially useful for managing pod borers in chickpeas. Talk to your extension agent for more details on this method.

SFX:
SOUND OF MOTORCYCLE THEN FADE

HOST:
Dear listeners, we hope that you learned a few things from the program.

Radio messages can be very useful in preventing problems faced by chickpea and lentil farmers. Farmers said they learned a lot about effective pest management practices. This is __, saying goodbye and talk to you next week.

SIGNATURE TUNE THEN FADE

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Haileamlak Kassaye, journalist, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Reviewed by: Zelalem Nega, Program manager, Ethiopia, Farm Radio International.

This script was written with the support of Irish Aid.

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