Date Posted: June 11th, 2012
There are two important aspects to this story: growing pumpkins as a cash crop, and improving your ability to market your crop.
Pumpkins: Here’s a publication from the South African Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries which gives guidelines for growing pumpkins. The publication is oriented towards growers in South Africa, but has much information which would be useful to anyone considering growing pumpkins. http://www.nda.agric.za/docs/Brochures/prodGuidePumpkins.pdf
Farm Radio International has published the following script on pumpkins:
Farmers in Eastern Nigeria Grow the Fluted Pumpkin (Package 71, Script 1, June 2004) http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/71-1script_en.asp
Farm Radio Weekly has produced two stories on pumpkins:
Uganda: Pumpkins co-op offers growing tips (#76, August 2009) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/08/03/2-uganda-pumpkin-co-op-offers-growing-tips-new-vision/
Congo: Milk from pumpkin seeds (#120, July 2010) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/07/19/2-congo-milk-from-pumpkin-seeds-spore-syfia-la-semaine-africaine/
You may also find the Notes to broadcasters for this story useful http://weekly.farmradio.org/2010/07/19/notes-to-broadcasters-on-pumpkin-and-squash/
Are pumpkins grown in your area? If so, are they solely for home use and consumption, or are they sold at the market? Which different varieties are grown? Are they grown just for their leaves, or are the pumpkins themselves also grown, consumed, and/or sold? Do any farmers sell pumpkins as a cash crop? Talk to farmers and extension agents about the possibilities for pumpkins in your area.
Marketing: Wren Media created a Rural Radio Resource Pack on marketing for small-scale farmers. It includes 11 downloadable audio pieces, transcripts, technical information, and guidance on how to use the Resource Pack: http://ruralradio.cta.int/MarketingSmallscale.htm
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) offers a series of case studies on four ways in which farmers can link to markets: farmer to trader, through a leading farmer, to a private company, and through a co-operative. You can find the case studies on FAO’s website at: http://www.fao.org/ag/ags/agricultural-marketing-linkages/linking-farmers-to-markets/case-studies/en/
Farm Radio International has published a number of scripts on marketing. You can browse scripts on small-scale enterprise – including marketing and related issues – at http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/enterprise.asp
Farm Radio Weekly has published many stories on marketing. Here are a few of the more recent ones:
Congo-Brazzaville: Yvonne Nsayi: A rural entrepreneur who inspires her community (# 191, March 2012) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2012/03/05/congo-brazzaville-yvonne-nsayi-a-rural-entrepreneur-who-inspires-her-community-by-privat-tiburce-martin-massanga-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-congo-brazzaville/
Kenya: Bertha Ambundo: How one woman farmer inspired a community to improve their lives (#191, March 2012) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2012/03/05/kenya-bertha-ambundo-how-one-woman-farmer-inspired-a-community-to-improve-their-lives-by-sawa-pius-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-kenya/
Kenya: Women in Kisii succeed with banana processing (#185, January 2012) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2012/01/16/kenya-women-in-kisii-succeed-with-banana-processing-nairobi-star/
Marketing is a complicated subject, and it may be best to start with just one aspect – whether it’s linking farmers to markets, choosing which crops to grow depending on market conditions, how to do market research, or a different component of marketing.
Or, you could invite farmers to respond to a phone-in program that asks them to share their main marketing problems. You could have a marketing expert in studio to respond to farmer questions.