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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Malawi: Listening to the radio perfects Goodson Chisaleka’s vegetable farming skills (by Norman Fulatira, for Farm Radio Weekly in Malawi)

Goodson Chisaleka never goes anywhere without his radio – even his vegetable garden.

Mr. Chisaleka is a vegetable farmer in Chatata village, in the central Lilongwe district of Malawi.

He carries his radio everywhere. When he cycles, Mr. Chisaleka laces the small radio to his shoulder. He switches among the four major channels in Malawi, listening to news, music and other programs.

Mr. Chisaleka says, “One day I was tilling in my vegetable garden and at the same time listening to the state-run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation radio’s Ulimi Wamakono program.”

Ulimi Wamakono means “modern farming methods” in the local language. And it was Ulimi Wamakono that changed his attitude towards vegetable farming.

Mr. Chisaleka had already taken up vegetable farming as a pastime. But after listening to the radio program, he realized that there was money in vegetable farming, provided he used modern methods.

He increased the size of his vegetable beds and planted hybrid varieties, following the advice he heard from the anchor on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation, which is a Farm Radio broadcasting partner. Now, he makes a good living growing vegetables. He takes advantage of the ready market in Lilongwe, where he sells vegetables door-to-door.

Mr. Chisaleka cycles through the townships of Lilongwe selling vegetables, with his radio across to his shoulder and humming to the music. Most days, he returns home with 3,000 Malawi kwacha, which is approximately eighteen US dollars.

The people who laughed at him for carrying a radio everywhere have changed their tune. Now they admire what he’s achieved by following the advice of a farm radio program.

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