Notes to broadcasters
Integrated rice and fish farming means growing rice and raising fish in the same field at the same time, in the same water.
Agro-pastoralism is the major activity in Baguinéda, a village located at 30 kilometres from Bamako, the capital city of Mali. There are also 2300 hectares of rice irrigated by the Niger River. This is a real godsend for the more than one thousand small-scale farmers who share it.
Integrated rice and fish farming started in Baguinéda in 2009 in an irrigated area managed by the Office of the Irrigated Perimeter of Baguinéda (OPIB), through a fish farming and rice-fish farming program funded by USAID. Baguinéda had many assets which made it suitable for introducing rice-fish farming, including the know-how of the local experts, facilities for producing fingerlings, and an agricultural research centre.
According to the head of the fisheries service in the region, the project did not achieve its main goal of encouraging more rice producers to raised fish. Only a few farmers adopted integrated rice and fish farming. And, despite trainings offered to them, these farmers raise few fish.
Mohamed Farota is an exception. He raises a lot of fish and grows a lot of rice in his fields. This script tells his story. We also hear from Mamadou Traoré, the head of an organization called Antenne Pêche which supports integrated rice and fish farmers. Mr. Traoré talks about the role of his organization and the importance of rice-fish farming in ensuring food security.
You might choose to present this script as part of your regular farming program, 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.
You could also use this script as research material or as inspiration for creating programs on integrating fish with rice or other crops in your country.
Talk to farmers who raise fish with other crops. You might ask them:
How long have you integrated fish and crops? How has raising fish affected family nutrition? How has it affected family income?
What are some of the barriers to raising fish in your area? Have local fish farmers found solutions to these challenges? What kind of expert support is available in your area?
Estimated running time for this script: __ minutes, with intro and extro music.
Mariam Koné: journalist at L’Annonceur
Mohamed Farota: rice-fish farmer
Mamadou Traoré: head of Antenne Pêche in Baguinéda
Moriba Diarra: rice-fish farmer
Mariam Koné is a journalist at L’Annonceur, a women-led newspaper. Mrs. Koné travelled to Baguinéda to interview a farmer named Mohamed Farota, whose life has been changed by integrated rice-fish farming. She also talked with an extension officer. Let’s follow her story.
Mohamed is married with six children. He silently squats on the small wall of a rice plot. At one end of the 25-foot long rice plot is a pit filled with dark and dirty water. Putting his hand into a bucket containing cereal bran, he pours handfuls of the bran into the pit. Inside the pit, you can see small creatures with big heads and bodies extended by a tail. These are fingerlings, young fish that have been living in the pit for two months.
You dig the pit for the fish at one end of a rice plot, for the whole width of the rice plot. You dig the pit one to one and a half metre deep and use the earth leftover from the digging to strengthen the mud bunds between the rice plots.
Catfish farming is easy. As the season draws near, we build a fish bowl in the mud at the water’s edge. The hole is a little more than half a metre deep and two metres wide. We have hundreds of small catfish and some adults in this hole.
Welcome to the irrigated lowland of Baguinéda! I am Mamadou Traoré, your master. (Editor’s note: He is continuing the joke. In the past in Mali, people from the Koné tribe were slaves of the Traoré).
I am from L’Annonceur newspaper. I came here to talk to Mohamed Farota because I heard about his commitment to this kind of farming. He talked about you during our discussion. What role do you play in promoting integrated rice and fish farming?
This country has plenty of land which is suitable for rice-fish farming. Wherever the land is suitable, rice-fish farming can contribute to food and nutritional security in the Republic of Mali.
Contributed by: Mariam Koné, Journalist-reporter at L’Annonceur newspaper
Reviewed by: Boubakary Cisse, Program Assistant, RSD (Rice Sector Development), AfricaRice
Mohamed Farota, Rice-fish farmer in Baguineda
Mamadou Traoré, Head of Antenne Pêche, Office du Périmètre Irrigué de Baguinéda (OPIB)
Date of interviews: September 28, 2014
Project undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD)