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Script 67.3

Notes to broadcasters

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A good way to involve farmers in radio broadcasts is to interview them about innovations they have developed. The following script relates a true story of a farmer innovation that increased food supplies for a refugee population. While your local population might not include refugees, the information can be adapted to other emergency situations, such as armed conflict or natural disaster. You may also wish to use a local crop, instead of coffee (as used in the script). Alternatively, you can introduce coffee as an example that farmers in your listening audience can learn from and adapt to their own conditions.

Broadcasting information about farmers’ innovations provides inspiration for other farmers and motivates them to do their own experiments. If possible, it is recommended that you go to the field to interview farmers in their own environment where they feel most comfortable.

Script

Characters
Host
Mr. George Rueda:
innovative farmer

Host
: [Yesterday/last week/on Wednesday] on [name of program], we heard about survival crops – why they’re needed, how they help after [disaster/conflict]. We also heard a few examples of these crops. Today we have Mr. George Rueda in our studio. Mr. Rueda is a successful and innovative farmer who experiments with different methods of crop cultivation. And experimenting with crop cultivation can often mean higher yields. Welcome to the show, Mr. Rueda.

Mr. Rueda
: Thank you – it’s a pleasure to be here.

Host
: Mr. Rueda, you are going to talk to us about your new method of growing sweet potatoes. In fact I understand that by using your methods you can double the production of sweet potatoes.

Mr. Rueda
: Yes, indeed it’s true.

Host
: Well, please tell us how you started. How did you develop your cultivation methods?

Mr. Rueda
: I’ve been experimenting on my plot for many years – with all my crops – maize, beans, and groundnuts. But two years ago …a light went on in my head! And I discovered a new way to increase my sweet potato harvest.

Host
: Hmmm…two years ago…that was when war started in the north.

Mr. Rueda
: Yes. That year refugees were streaming across the border, into our country. A refugee camp was established near my village.

Host
: I remember that time well. Many of us wondered how our farmers could possibly grow enough food to feed their own families, as well as all the new arrivals.

Mr. Rueda
: Exactly. And that’s when I knew that my experiments to increase sweet potato production could be useful. There were so many more mouths to feed.

Host
: Well…we shouldn’t keep the listeners in suspense any longer! Please tell us about your experiments.

Mr. Rueda
: I was experimenting with different types of organic fertilizers on the planting mounds.

Host
: What kinds of fertilizers did you try?

Mr. Rueda
: First I tried mixing pig manure into the planting mounds. But the results were not good. The harvest was not much bigger. And people didn’t want to eat sweet potatoes that were fertilized with pig manure. So then I tried coffee pulp.

Host
: Coffee pulp as fertilizer?

Mr. Rueda
: Yes, I grow coffee, and so do many of my neighbours. But in the past we always treated the coffee pulp – the outer skin of the fruit – like garbage. After the bean was removed – we just threw the pulp away in a ditch, or into the river. That was a waste. I believe that everything can be a useful resource – nothing should be considered garbage. So, I asked myself: “How can I use the coffee pulp?”

Host
: And you thought of the sweet potatoes?

Mr. Rueda
: Yes, I did. I opened the planting mounds and mixed in the coffee pulp. I used half a bucket of coffee pulp in every mound. I mixed it in well with the soil and left it for a week – to break down. Then I planted sweet potatoes. The results were excellent.

Host
: Do you mean that you had a good harvest?

Mr. Rueda
: A very good harvest. This method increased crop production twofold.

Host
: So, it worked better than the pig manure.

Mr. Rueda
: Yes, much better. Coffee pulp has the nutrient potassium in it. Sweet potatoes need a lot of potassium to grow well.

Host
: But… gathering and applying the coffee pulp…this takes a lot of time. And a lot of coffee pulp!

Mr. Rueda
: Yes, and I couldn’t do it all by myself. But remember, at that time many of the refugees were farmers and they were looking for work. I hired several refugees to gather pulp from the larger farms and mix it with the soil on my plot. They were hard workers. I increased from one to two plantings of sweet potatoes in a year.

Host
: So there were more workers to grow the food, and more sweet potatoes to feed the workers.

Mr. Rueda
: Yes, everything worked well.

Host
: Mr. Rueda, thanks for sharing your story of how you increased crop production on your farm, and helped to feed many of the refugees that we welcomed to our country.

Mr. Rueda
: It was a pleasure to be here.

– END –

Acknowledgements

  • Contributed by Jennifer Pittet, Thornbury, Ontario, Canada.
  • Reviewed by Vignes Thievendaram, Agricultural specialist, Cambridge, Ontario, Canada.

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