Script 91.4

Notes to broadcasters

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Rwanda is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa, with about 380 persons per square kilometre. Since most Rwandans are farmers, the soil is becoming more and more cracked and degraded. Because it is worked every year, the soil is getting tired and yields are poor. To give soil its strength back, one must use organic and chemical fertilizers. But some farmers can’t afford chemical fertilizers and do not have the resources to make composted manure.

To address this issue, a farmer named Alphonsine Nyirambanjinka applies icyayi in her field. Icyayi is a word that means “tea” in Kinyarwanda, the language of Rwanda. The tea is made of ash, herbs, water and chicken waste. It is a local organic product that Alphonsine and other farmers discovered. Although the product is being used before scientific tests have confirmed its usefulness, Ms. Nyirambanjinka confirms its capacity to rejuvenate the soil.

This script highlights the research that farmers conduct themselves every year to improve the fertility of their soils and the yield of their crops.

This script is based on actual interviews. You could use this script as inspiration to research and write a script on a similar topic 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.


Fade up signature tune to start the show. Signature tune fades out after 15 seconds under host’s voice.

Dear Radio Salus listeners, hello and welcome once again to our farm show. To start off, here is the theme of today’s show: Tea for the soil: How manure “tea” feeds the soil. Dear listeners and farmers, we have been working our soil for many years to feed ourselves. However, as our soil gives us food, it is growing older and older. In order to give it some strength back, we must give it good things to eat and drink. But what does this mean: To eat? To drink?

In today’s show, we are going to visit Alphonsine Nyirambanjinka, a member of Imbaraga. Imbaraga is a union of farmers’ associations in the Branche du Nord region of Rwanda. Alphonsine feeds manure tea to the soil to meet the soil’s needs. The soil’s needs are to receive good food and drink so that it can meet the farmer’s expectations. And so goes the give and take of farming the soil. This show is prepared and hosted by Jean Paul Ntezimana. Don’t go away!


Ambient sound in background

In a very quiet paddock, the only sounds are birds singing high up in the trees that surround the house. Alphonsine and her family members are taking care of daily farmers’ work: preparing the grain storage area, collecting waste to make organic manure, and other tasks. But Alphonsine is also preparing a farmers’ discovery – tea for the soil. Alphonsine prepares tea for her soil in order to increase the yield of her crops. After she exchanges lengthy and excited greetings with neighbours and passersby, Alphonsine explains how she makes tea to feed her soil.

I prepare a small amount of liquid manure for my vegetable garden. To prepare this manure, I put a little water in a ten litre bucket. Then I add some leaves – two big handfuls of a plant called cyimbazi (Editor’s note: the scientific name is Tithonia diversifolia). Actually, I plant cyimbazi in my field – it is not found everywhere in our region. I add some ash from the kitchen and I put a lid on the container. After three days, I mix the ingredients, using a piece of wood. Two days later, I stir again to help the mixture decompose. Meanwhile, I collect waste from my only chicken. After five days – that is ten days after we started to make the tea – I add chicken manure. After another two weeks, the tea will be ready to feed my garden. It is home-made NPK from Rwanda! (She laughs)

Fade in music for 15 seconds, then fade out under Alphonsine’s voice

The tea is very nutritious for the soil. I learned how to make it from Imbaraga, our association of farmers’ groups. It is our discovery. I use it to rejuvenate my garden soil without chemical fertilizers, because we have no money for industrial fertilizers! It is true that after using the tea, I have better yields than I used to have. I have a small field, about one-tenth of a hectare. In the past, I harvested three sacks of maize. But when I use manure tea, I get seven sacks of maize. Apart from our local NPK, I use my cow’s urine instead of commercial urea. It is also very rich for the soil.

Musical fade in of 10 seconds, then fade out under the host’s voice

Dear listeners, dear farmers, you are listening to Radio Salus, and our show is about agriculture. We have just paid a visit to Mrs. Alphonsine and observed how she prepares tea for her garden. Do you have any questions, suggestions or other ideas about the topic of this show? If so, send us an sms at You can also send us letters at P.O. Box 117, in Butare, Rwanda.

Fade in music for 10 seconds, then fade out under the host’s voice

Dear listeners, our visit with members of Imbaraga continues in their head office in the city of Ruhengeri. This office is the training centre of Imbaraga in Musanze, a district in the north of Rwanda. Mr. Gafaranga Joseph is the executive secretary of Imbaraga for the Northern Province. Mr. Joseph is a farmer too. Mr. Joseph tells us why he and his farmer colleagues developed this fertilizing liquid.

We realized that some among us are poor. So, they don’t have the means to fertilize their fields. This is why we thought about a mixture that could give us results similar to those we get when we use chemical fertilizers like NPK 17-17-17. The mix that we call “tea” is easy to make, cheap, and it is ready to use within about 25 days. It is very rich, richer than ordinary manure, comparable to chemical fertilizer. It is simple to carry around; I mean that it’s not too heavy. Even if you have no other animals, you can use the waste from a chicken. It is environmentally friendly, and it is organic!

Mr. Joseph, how does the tea affect crop yields?

The production doubles! It is very good for small farmers with limited resources.

Mr. Joseph, can you tell us if you are satisfied with your work on this tea?

We are still doing research to determine its properties, and to find out whether it can be improved by adding to it or modifying it. For example, we haven’t yet determined the best dose. For one are (Editor’s note: one “are” is a piece of land ten metres by ten metres, or one hundred square metres. It is one-hundredth of a hectare. Please use the units of measurement that are most familiar to your audience.), we use one or two twenty-litre tins. But we asked for assistance from the Institute of Agronomic Sciences of Rwanda. When we have the results from their laboratory, we will be able to use it even more effectively.

Fade in music for 10 seconds, then cross-fade under the host’s voice
Dear listeners, dear farmers, friends of Radio Salus, this is the end of our visit at the union of farmers’ associations, in the north of Rwanda. I believe you have gathered some knowledge from their research on rejuvenating the soil. As a reminder, those farmers use a mix that they named “tea.” It is a mixture of water, leaves of cyimbazi, ash and chicken manure. It’s important to note that manure teas should not be applied to edible parts of the crop or applied too near harvest time.
Music fades in for five seconds, then cross-fades under the host’s voice
Dear listeners of Radio Salus, we hope that you have seen that the role of the farmer is fundamental in research based on farmers’ experience. You can start your own research too, or apply what has been learned by these members of the Imbaraga farmers’ group. If you want to share your experience and your research with others, do not hesitate to contact us at Radio Salus’ usual address: BP 117 Butare, Rwanda. We cannot leave you without thanking the members of Imbaraga for their efforts to increase production. Thank you to all who are listening to our show. You were with Jean Paul Ntezimana. Be with us next time!
Cross-fade background music into signature tune


  • Contributed by: Senior Writer Jean Paul Ntezimana, Radio Salus, Rwanda, a Farm Radio International broadcasting partner.
  • Reviewed by: John FitzSimons, Associate Professor, School of Environmental Design and Rural Development, University of Guelph, Canada.
  • Translated by: Madzouka B. Kokolo, consultant
  • Common names for Tithonia diversifolia:
    Embu: kirurite
    English: Mexican sunflower, tree marigold, tithonia
    French: fleur la fête des mères
    Kamba: ilaa
    Kikuyu: maruru
    Kinyarwanda: ikicamahirwe, cyimbazi
    Kirundi: umugaruro, ibamba ry’umusoz, kererukonjo
    Kisii: amaua amaroro
    Kiswahili: maua, mauwa buchungu
    Luhya: maua amalulu
    Luo: maua makech
    Marachi: liuwa, lilulu
    Mashi: cilula, chiharara
    Northern Madagascar: dokoterahely
    Okeigbo (Nigeria): jogbo, agbale
    Shi: hyasi hilulu, cilula
    Sukuma: maua

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