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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.

Issue #136

Hello!

The new African subscribers we welcome to Farm Radio Weekly this week are: Celestina Adwoa Pabby from the Ghana Community Radio Network in Ghana; Marie Sorelle Omadjang from l’Université de Douala in Cameroun; Phillip Obare from the Kenya Broadcasting Corporationin Kenya; Jean Akoum Amiri from  Radio Sawtu Linjiila in Cameroun et A. P. Virgil Houessou from the Ministère de l’agriculture, de l’élevage et de la pêche in Benin.

We also extend a warm welcome to 28 new subscribers who signed up during AMARC’s recent Global Conference of Community Radio broadcasters in Argentina. These new subscribers come from all four corners of the globe: Haiti, Egypt, India, the Philippines, Uganda, Mexico, Ghana, Tunisia, Jordan, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, the United States and Canada. Farm Radio International attended the conference and we share with you excerpts from interviews we conducted with two of our African broadcasting partners who were also in attendance, in the Action section below.   

This week we bring you a new, exclusive script, the last in our series on women and land, plus a story from a new correspondent in Malawi!

As mentioned, this week we present the last in our series of stories from a recent symposium on women and land. The symposium was called Gendered Terrain: Women’s Rights and Access to Land in Africa. It was hosted by the International Development Research Centre, IDRC, and presented findings from more than 20 research projects on gender and land. We’d like to thank IDRC for providing financial support to enable three of Farm Radio Weekly’s writers to attend and produce these stories. One of the writers is currently preparing a script, inspired by a presentation at the symposium, which will appear exclusively in Farm Radio Weekly soon. The story this week is from Zimbabwe. It describes the opportunities for women to gain title to land during that country’s land reform process.

Our second story this week comes from a new correspondent in Malawi. The story shows how farmers came to appreciate vaccinating their chickens against Newcastle disease. A chicken can be vaccinated for the price of an egg. 

Our third story this week is from Niger. Women are running new kinds of food banks to help families get through the hunger season. There have been some interesting side-effects from their new role within communities.

We are pleased to present a new script on soil health, written exclusively for Farm Radio Weekly. The script is based on interviews with a farmer in Tanzania. The farmer describes how he changed his life by integrating livestock with crop farming. 

Please also note that we will not be publishing Farm Radio Weekly next week. However, we will resume publication of FRW on December 6.

We hope you enjoy reading this week’s edition.

-The Farm Radio Weekly team

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In this week’s Farm Radio Weekly:

African Farm News in Review

1. Zimbabwe: Women struggle to get title to resettled land (by Rachel Awuor, for Farm Radio Weekly in Kenya)

2. Malawi: Farmers overcome Newcastle disease by vaccinating chickens (by Mark Ndipita, for Farm Radio Weekly in Malawi)

3. Niger: Women run a new type of food bank to sustain families through the ‘hunger season’ (Worldwatch Institute, IFAD)

Upcoming Events

-Journalist Study Tour to India 2011: FAHAMU Emerging Powers in Africa Programme

Radio Resource Bank

-Create your own podcasts: Free online course

Farm Radio Action

-Farm Radio International networks at AMARC10

Farm Radio Script of the Week

-Integrating crop farming with livestock improved my soil. And my life!

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Zimbabwe: Women struggle to get title to resettled land (by Rachel Awuor, for Farm Radio Weekly in Kenya)

In most African communities, land and power are closely linked. Men hold the power and women are regarded as inferior. When families get new land, this culture can negatively affect women. Recent research on the land reform process in Zimbabwe shows that women have not benefitted equally. In Manicaland, eastern Zimbabwe, few of the resettled small-scale farmers who received land were women.

During the fast-track land reform program, some small-scale farmers were resettled in the Nyabamba area of Chimanimani District in Manicaland. This region was chosen so that farmers could have larger plots of land, with better soils. Village headmen were responsible for land allocation. Within families, the head of the household divided the land, mainly to sons. Mothers and sisters were rarely considered.

Women played an active role in clearing land. Yet in most cases men were the sole recipients of offer letters. Offer letters are the documents needed by the government to grant land permits to landholders. In Nyabamba, women’s names are documented as sole recipients of land on less than 14% of offer letters.

When the land belongs to men, women can access and use land only to grow food for the family. They cannot grow food for sale. Neither can they decide how income is spent. Men are the decision-makers and the women the “decided for.” Yet women in Zimbabwe, and across Africa, are responsible for feeding their families. It is estimated that women produce 80% of the total food produced in Africa.

When the women resettled in Chimanimani, they formed community groups. During this time of change, they farmed alongside men. They used forest resources for beekeeping. Now they sell their honey in the market. Together with the men, women have learned how to make beehives, which they sell locally. They have been trained in forest conservation. They replant forest trees and plant trees at home.

Community groups have also been trained on land rights and land reform. During the trainings, men take part in discussions on equal rights for women to land. The groups sensitize other community members on issues of land and land rights.

Apart from beekeeping and afforestation, women have been elected and are active on local environmental management committees. Gender balance is key in these committees. Men recognize women’s contributions and acknowledge the value of their participation in land management.

But attitudes change slowly. One woman registered her name on land documents while her husband was away. But this situation did not last long. She explains, “A few months later, my husband came and saw the permit in my name. I was rebuked for the decision.” Her husband went to the office of the district administrator and replaced her name on the document with his own.  

The community groups continue to raise awareness in communities. They want to engage with the legal institutions that deal with land matters, and encourage them to be more open to change.

Some men have registered their land as “joint titles.” The names of both the man and the wife appear on these land documents. It’s estimated that 8% of land documents are registered as “joint title.” This small success has given women the strength to continue working together with men. Together, they are trying to diversify their livelihoods beyond a dependence on gardening and forest-based resources.

The women of Chimanimani hope to achieve more in the future, as they continue their trainings on awareness raising and attitude change.

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Malawi: Farmers overcome Newcastle disease by vaccinating chickens (by Mark Ndipita, for Farm Radio Weekly in Malawi)

 Jeke Adamu is a farmer who does not give up easily. But when his efforts to raise chickens proved futile for three consecutive years, he completely lost hope. He vowed never to rear chickens again. Mr. Adamu and his wife Alena are small-scale farmers in Nyama village, 15 kilometres south of Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.

Chickens are a major source of income, meat and eggs in Malawi. Newcastle is a contagious and fatal viral disease in birds. It is one of the most important poultry diseases in Malawi and worldwide. And it frustrated Mr. Adamu. He explains, “Whenever I bought chickens, I could not rear them for more than six months. Once the number of chickens started to increase, Newcastle disease could wipe out all my chickens within three weeks.”

Mr. Adamu did not realize that there was a simple and cheap solution to his problem. Then, in May 2007, he met a community chicken vaccinator from an NGO operating in the area. Mr. Adamu explains that he “ … advised me that vaccination was the solution for Newcastle disease. I agreed and vaccinated my chickens at an affordable price of seven cents per chicken.”

Group village headman Nkhwiripe Nsomera from Chiradzulu district in southern Malawi says the vaccine is affordable. He encourages farmers in his area to vaccinate their chickens: “At first we thought it was expensive to vaccinate each chicken at a cost of seven cents. Through the extension worker, we realized later that by just selling one egg we can use the money to vaccinate two chickens.”

In Malawi, La Sota and I2 are the vaccines commonly used to combat Newcastle disease. I2 costs seven cents per chicken. La Sota costs nearly seven American dollars, but is enough to vaccinate about 900 chickens.

Mr. Ng’amba Banda works in the Department of Animal Health and Livestock Development as a Quality Assurance Officer. He says the government is doing all it can to ensure that small-scale farmers have access to Newcastle disease vaccines at an affordable price. “We are producing I2 vaccine and providing it to small-scale farmers at an affordable price to supplement the La Sota vaccine which is available on the commercial market.”

Mr. Masautso Thawale is the Coordinator for Inter-Aid, a non-governmental organization which encourages small-scale farmers to vaccinate chickens. He has found that some farmers do not vaccinate chickens against Newcastle because of bad experiences. He explains, “There are pockets of farmers whose chickens died because they used untrained vaccinators.”

Some farmers in Malawi believe that the La Sota vaccine kills chickens. Mr. Thawale stresses that La Sota needs to be stored in a fridge. But there are few fridges in rural areas. Some farmers end up buying expired La Sota, which ultimately kills their chickens. He says, “For small-scale farmers, our organization recommends I2 vaccine, which can be easily stored.”

Mr. Thawale says that with the help of extension messages, the number of small-scale farmers who are using I2 vaccine is on the rise. “Farmers take the price of I2 vaccine as very cheap because they compare the cost of losing a chicken, the selling price of a chicken, and the cost of saving it using the vaccine.”

Mary Zuwe is a farmer from Mitundu in Lilongwe. She describes Newcastle as a disease of economic importance. She explains how she has managed to increase the number of chickens she raises to 81: “I started with one chicken. But because I always vaccinate my chickens using I2, I have never lost any. I love my chickens because they are a source of income for me.”

Mrs. Zuwe urged other farmers who believe that vaccinating against Newcastle disease is expensive to change their minds. She says, “You save a lot of money when you vaccinate your chickens. I am the living witness. People in my village have seen how my chickens have survived from Newcastle, and they have now started vaccinating their chickens too.”

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Niger: Women run a new type of food bank to sustain families through the ‘hunger season’ (Worldwatch Institute, IFAD)

The Maradi area of south central Niger has suffered poor rains in recent years. Cereal harvests have dropped by nearly a third. Seventy percent of the population lives below the poverty line. The months before harvest are called “the hunger season.” From mid-July to mid-September, food supplies are at their lowest. Most families eat only one meal a day.

Balki Djibo is a farmer in the region. She explains, “In 2005, our agricultural production was not sufficient. I had to sell one of my goats to buy additional millet to ensure the survival of the household.” Her husband, Yahouza Djibo, got farming work in a nearby village.

But now many women, like Mrs. Djibo, are taking local food security into their own hands. In response to the food crisis in 2005, the International Fund for Agricultural Development created a new kind of food bank. The bank is run entirely by women. It lends food to farmers, not money. The food helps families make it through the hunger season.

Called the soudure bank, or pre-harvest bank, it is based on exchange. Each week of the pre-harvest season, farming families receive cereal on credit. They pay back the loan with their own harvest, and add 25 per cent interest. This covers the cost of storage and maintenance. The villagers chose this rate of interest. It may seem high, but traditional lenders charge 200 to 300 per cent.

The new banks have already made a huge difference. Today there are 168 soudure banks throughout Niger. Over 50,000 women are involved in village committees which oversee how the banks are run. Each week during the rainy season, the women organize the distribution of cereals from the bank. The committees may decide to sell surplus to fund repairs. They also choose whether to lower repayment rates in case of a poor harvest.

The banks store over 2800 tonnes of millet. This is enough to feed 350,000 people for at least a month. During the 2008 global food price crisis, when 90 percent of Niger’s population was at risk of starvation, villages with a soudure bank were able to sustain themselves through the harshest period of the year.

Mr. Djibo no longer needs to work on other peoples’ land. He concentrates on his own plot. He says, “With the bank, my own production has increased, I have less debt, and we don’t have to harvest too early in the season.” 

There have been other benefits, especially for women. The banks help empower women who would otherwise be left out of community organizations and decision-making in Niger. They have new roles as bank managers. The banks have given women opportunities to be part of village committees and organizations. The International Fund for Agricultural Development now works with these organizations on other activities such as health and nutrition.

With the support of their husbands, women can now play an integral role in improving local food security, diets, and livelihoods.

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Notes to broadcasters on Newcastle disease

Newcastle disease is a contagious viral disease that affects poultry. It is usually fatal. The disease is quite common in Africa and a major constraint to production in some areas. There is no treatment for Newcastle disease. A vaccine exists, and sanitary measures can be taken to reduce the likelihood of outbreaks. There are a number of reasons farmers do not vaccinate. They may not know the vaccine exists, it may not be available locally, it may not be affordable, there may be storage problems, or there may not be trained personnel to administer it correctly.

Here are three basic references on Newcastle disease. They explain the symptoms, how it is transmitted, preventative measures, and what to do if you suspect infection: http://www.nda.agric.za/docs/Infopaks/Newcastle.pdf

http://www.oie.int/eng/maladies/fiches/a_a160.htm

http://www.oie.int/eng/maladies/Technical%20disease%20cards/NEWCASTLE%20DISEASE_%20FINAL.pdf 

Farm Radio Weekly published an article on paravets which you may find relevant and interesting. Paravets often include community vaccination in their activities:

Tanzania: Paravets help keep herds healthy

http://weekly.farmradio.org/2008/03/10/tanzania-para-vets-help-keep-herds-healthy-farm-radio-weekly-arusha-times/

In 2009 Farm Radio International produced a script on Newcastle disease as part of a package on livestock health:

Adventures of Neddy: A community animal health worker helps a village manage Newcastle disease. Package 88, Script 3, July 2009

http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/88-3script_en.asp

You may also wish to research and produce a news story on Newcastle disease and access to vaccines and veterinary care in your area. Questions to ask may include:
-How common is Newcastle disease in your broadcast area? Does it discourage farmers from raising chickens and other poultry?

-What steps do farmers take to prevent an outbreak of Newcastle disease?

-Can farmers buy an affordable vaccine locally? Do they vaccinate their chickens? If not, why not?

-What other diseases have they seen in chickens?

-Do veterinarians and/or paravets serve your area? How well do farmers feel that these practitioners are meeting their veterinary needs? For example, can farmers access animal care in a timely fashion, and can they rely on the quality of care?
-What is the role of traditional veterinary knowledge in preventing and treating disease in local livestock? Can you find examples of indigenous techniques that farmers find effective?

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Notes to broadcasters on food banks

The food bank project in Niger was developed as one response to recurrent droughts. Grain stores were already in place, so farmers could store their harvest while waiting for a better price in the market. These grain stores became food banks. Women manage the banks in most cases.  

For more information on IFAD’s food banks project, see:

http://operations.ifad.org/web/ifad/operations/country/voices/tags/niger

Other organizations such as Plan International, the UN’s World Food Programme and CARE International implement similar projects, which you can read about here:

http://plan-international.org/where-we-work/africa/niger/what-we-do/our-successes/fighting-food-insecurity-with-cereal-banks

http://www.wfp.org/stories/niger-women%E2%80%99s-cereal-bank-hedges-against-hunger

This news item from 2008 stresses the importance of community ownership of food banks. It promotes the view that food banks will only succeed if communities are involved:  http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=80953.

Farm Radio International has produced a script on cereal food banks which you can use or adapt in your programming:

Cereal Banks can Contribute to Food Security. Package 73, Script 5, January 2005. http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/73-5script_en.asp

Many more scripts on food processing and storage can be browsed here: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/food.asp.

Food banks can provide a lifeline in emergencies or times of extreme stress. You could do some research to see if they have been tried in your region. You might consider producing a call-in program to discuss whether a food bank is a useful resource for villages facing a hunger season. Are food banks only for emergencies? Or are there always farming families who might benefit? Is it preferable to have women manage the banks? If so, why? What is a fair interest rate? How can managers ensure that farmers pay back their loans?

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Journalist Study Tour to India 2011: FAHAMU Emerging Powers in Africa Programme

African professionals who work in print, broadcast, radio and online are encouraged to apply for a Journalist Study Tour to India. Four applicants will be chosen to participate in a six-day study tour. The tour aims to increase the African media’s knowledge of India, its politics, society, economy and media, and to create opportunities for networking, exchange and learning. The tour will include visits to Indian media organizations and journalism schools.

Applicants must be fluent in English and have valid travel documents. They are expected to display an interest in and previous work related to India’s activities in Africa.

The tour will take place in January 2011. Deadline for applications is 1 December 2010.

For full details please visit: http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/Announce/68639.

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Create your own podcasts: Free online course

 A new online course is available on how to create your very own podcasts. The course is free. It will be useful for anyone interested in recording and sharing audio and video podcasts over the web. The course describes how to use two main podcasting tools (Audacity and Podomatic) in a non-technical and step-by-step manner.

For more information, go to: http://alison.com/courses/Podcasting-Create-Podcasts-for-the-Web.

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Farm Radio International networks at AMARC10

Farm Radio International attended the 10th global conference of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC10) in La Plata, Argentina from November 8-12. The conference brought together over 500 community radio broadcasters to exchange and discuss topics such as strategies for participatory radio and the right to communication. Farm Radio International made the best of this opportunity to network with interesting and engaged community radio broadcasters from all over the world. In particular, we would like to share with you our interviews with two women who work with our broadcasting partners in Africa. The following interviews focus on the empowering programming these women have created with their respective stations.

Lydia Ajono, managing director at Radio Style 99.3 FM in Ghana:

“With the children, over the years, I used to do a children’s program in my native language. I give them the microphone and guide them to tell their own stories. [They can] recite a poem or tell a story in their own language or sing a song or tell us about their families … or any food they like best. These are the simple things I used to do with these children. But, over the years, I trained volunteers to work with the children. Currently, the volunteers are working with the children … and every Saturday from 2 to 4, they come and they talk over the airwaves. Whatever they want to say, it is for them. After that, they open the phone lines for their colleagues, who can phone in. And, it is so lovely when you listen to them. [The children] are just natural. They say the things that children say. They don’t have any fears … for them, nothing is impossible.”

Margaret Sentamu Masagazi, executive director of the Uganda Media Women’s Association and Mama 101.7 FM, in Uganda:

“There is this project that we used to have that is called the Get Smart Rural Women’s Project. And we trained women in participatory planning and monitoring, [and] trained them in leadership skills and communication skills. We wanted them to get to know what government programs are available for them, how they can participate in them and how they can benefit from them. One major thing that they did was to monitor government funds coming from the centre to the local or sub-country level. And there was this one very important day that I will never forget in my life. We organized what we call a women’s rural day. And about 300 plus women came from the rural areas to Kampala. We invited ministers; we invited Members of Parliament from the districts where they were coming from … so they started questioning government policies. I felt so overwhelmed. The minister would even ask: “Margaret, are you sure these are women coming from the local areas? How could they be so cunning to ask us those questions?”

So, when [the minister] stood up, [she said]: “We thank very much Mama FM and Media Women’s Association for having organized women to become so cunning that they can even start questioning us ministers.”

Every women who is part of that project, they call themselves smart women, they know which questions to ask and how to do it and they are becoming a force to reckon with.”

Farm Radio International would like to thank Lydia and Margaret for their time and for the work they do with their respective community radio stations.

Do you empower people through your radio station? Send us your story at farmradioweekly@farmradio.org. We’d be happy to publish it.

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Integrating crop farming with livestock improved my soil. And my life!

Notes to broadcaster

Millions of rural villagers worldwide do not integrate livestock keeping with their crop farming activities. Despite the possibility that they can improve their soils and earn a lot by integrating these practices, many farmers don’t follow this way of farming.

The high cost of both farming and livestock keeping today – which are becoming harder as a result of climate change – has meant poverty for many farmers and pastoralists. Thus, integrating these two activities has great promise.

This script talks about improving soil health by integrating livestock with crop farming. Keeping livestock helps farmers to have more sustainable farms. It also provides farmers with better incomes.

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.

Signature tune

Presenter: Welcome, dear listeners. In today’s program, we will talk about how farmers can conserve and improve soil fertility by integrating animals with crop agriculture.

Signature tune up and out under presenter

Presenter: Today we will speak with Mr. Lomayani Kuyan Mollel, a farmer from Ekenywa Village, in Arusha, Tanzania. He will share how he changed his life by integrating livestock with crop farming.

Signature tune up and out under presenter

Presenter: Conserving soil fertility means using different practices to keep the soil in good condition. These practices retain and enhance nutrients in the soil. Healthy soil supplies nutrients to crops on a sustainable basis.

Mr. Lomayani Kuyan Mollel lives in Ekenywa Village, in Ngaramtoni, near Arusha, Tanzania. He is married and has five children. Mr. Lomayani is a Maasai who grew up in the typical Maasai pastoralist life. During his late father’s life, the family owned a lot of cows. They didn’t do any farming, but got everything they needed from the cows.

But as the population grew, the area available for pasturing became smaller and smaller. Unfortunately, after ten years of pastoralism, all Mr. Lomayani’s cows were gone and the land had to be used for farming. This was a challenge because his family was not used to farming. Our interviewer speaks with Mr. Lomayani about this time in his life.

Interviewer: How would you describe your life at that time, Mr. Lomayani?

Farmer: We had been rich but then we became poor. The crops from the farm couldn’t meet our food needs and all the other needs in the family.

Interviewer: What was the impact of this poor production on your family?

Farmer: My father couldn’t pay for school uniforms and transportation costs to school. The school was far from where we lived. The cattle were finished and we didn’t have very much land to grow crops. Later on, because of poverty and lack of food, my father died. We were orphans. I had to look after my mother, my young sisters and brothers. I needed to continue in school. But who would pay for me?

Interviewer: So what did you do?

Farmer: I was a poor Maasai, just struggling to get enough to eat, or sometimes nothing at all. I remember it was a hard life. Anyway, I later decided to marry and have children in that poor life.

I had five children because I didn’t know how to have well-spaced childbirths. With five children, I suffered even more than before. Sometimes we went to sleep at night having only eaten porridge or sometimes just a cup of black tea during the whole day.

During my time at school, education was free – the government paid everything except clothing and transportation to school. But during my children’s time, not a single shilling came from the government. And if you didn’t take a child to school, you would be taken to court. I couldn’t afford to buy school uniforms for my children. That was the biggest challenge I ever faced in life.

Interviewer: How did you introduce the new practice of integrating farming and livestock keeping?

Farmer: I decided to take one step ahead – to try farming in a professional way. I had only two acres after the division of my father’s land, because my father had a lot of children.

The government sent some professionals to teach villagers how to harvest many bags of crops from a small plot. I was very much attracted by that. We started a small group of farmers. The professional person was called an agriculture extension officer. He helped by teaching us about farming.

It was good. We started practicing farming under the guidance of the officer. After harvest, we found that we had improved a lot. We harvested 10 bags of maize per acre. In previous years, we had harvested only four or five bags.

He told us we needed to put manure on our crops, and that in order to make farming sustainable, you need to keep cattle and crops. This is called integrating livestock and agriculture. This was a very good idea. You see, we couldn’t access manure because people let their animals roam free. So you couldn’t collect animal manure.

Interviewer: What were the challenges in feeding animals?

Farmer: The challenge was to get grass. All farmers in the country, especially those of us who were new to agriculture and liked to keep animals, were required to keep animals penned inside, which means zero grazing. We didn’t have livestock and we couldn’t afford to buy them, so the government granted each of us in the group one co and one goat. There were ten of us in the group and we set an example to other farmers in the village.

I started feeling hope for survival. I thought that at the very least, I might get milk after nine months. I planned to sell the milk and make money. I encouraged myself. I also saw some hope and respect from my wife and children.

And it came true! After nine months, my cow gave birth and I started enjoying milk. The cow gave twelve litres in the morning and twelve litres in the evening. I sold the milk and got enough money to pay school fees for my children. Other villagers who saw such benefits also wanted to join the group. They visited us to ask questions about how they could join in this new way of farming. After only one year, we started seeing a lot of advantages.

Interviewer: What are the advantages to integrating livestock and farming that you have seen in your life?

Farmer: Personally, I have had a lot of advantages compared to practicing one type of agriculture only. First, I have cow dung which I use as manure on my farm. As a result, I added fertility to my soil. Also, I have protected my soil from erosion by planting grasses along the  contour lines on my farm to provide feed for the animals. I have also planted some trees. Next, my children got healthy because they eat enough food, milk and even fruits. With the extra income I get from milk and crops, I was able to build a house roofed with iron sheets. I used to have a grass-roofed house.
I have been able to send my children to school. I have one who has completed school and one who is in advanced secondary education. Another one is in form two, while the others are in primary school. I can now get 15 bags of maize per acre, which is enough to feed my children. Also, I get trees for timber. My wife and I don’t go far to look for firewood now, because we planted trees on the farm. We just prune them every six months.

So, if farmers need to have better soils, better animals, and good income, they need to integrate livestock with farming.

Presenter: Up to this point, we have talked about the zero grazing system which Mr. Lomayani practices. But there are benefits to integrating crops and livestock for farmers who pasture their animals too. Pastured livestock eat grass, herbs and browse from grazing lands. This diet can be supplemented by grazing crop residues in farmer’s fields after cereal grains are harvested. The manure left in the fields by grazing livestock benefits the farmer by fertilizing the soil.

But there is one thing to watch out for: Grazing of crop residues normally takes place at the beginning of the dry season. But then the manure is exposed to heat, sunshine and drying winds for several months before it is incorporated into the soil. This means that the manure loses nutrients. Therefore, this system is poor at improving soil fertility.

Night parking is better for improving soil fertility. Night parking happens when crop residues are consumed by cattle tethered on the crop field overnight for two or three nights. This happens immediately before the rainy season. As the rains approach, the rising humidity stimulates fresh growth of grass and better quality fodder. When cattle eat better quality fodder, the quality of their manure improves. So more nutrients are added to the soil with their droppings each night. To avoid compacting the soil, animals are tethered in the same location on the fields for only two to three nights at a time.

By doing this, you have fertilized the soil and strengthened the grasses for your animals. And this will also provide you with the best crops.

Interviewer: Are there any other benefits when livestock and crop farming are integrated?

Farmer: Yes. First, in a zero grazing system, you will spend a much shorter time getting grass for your animals when you integrate livestock and crops. Second, you can produce sufficient grass for your animals on a very small part of your land. Third, some of the crops give a direct benefit because they feed animals, who then produce manure. Fourth, you can store your animal manure safely and it won’t get lost. So you have cared for your farmland, you have cared for your domestic animals, and you have stored manure.

Interviewer: How do animals benefit from the crops?

Farmer: When domestic animals walk, they use a lot of energy. But when they rest in one place as in zero grazing, the amount of milk they produce increases.

For example, if you have a cow which normally produces six litres of milk, it can produce 10 litres of milk when resting in one place. So, when you integrate livestock and crop farming, you have enough grass for your animals and yet you can get plenty of food crops.

Signature tune up and under presenter

Presenter: Integrating crop farming with animal keeping has a lot of benefits. The potential to use cereal crop residues as animal feed is enormous when you consider all the different types of cereal crops. Legume crop residues such as groundnut haulms, cowpea vines, and cowpea husks, are high in protein and can be used as supplements to natural pastures and cereal crop residues. When these residues are fed to animals, they can give milk and other products and even bring income in the market when sold.

When leaves from leguminous plants drop on the soil and decompose, they produce nitrogen, phosphorous, and other nutrients. All this enriches the soil. When animals are fed leguminous plant residues, they give good quality milk and meat. They also produce droppings which give a lot of nutrients to the soil. This becomes a virtuous circle for the soil. The soil is fertilized and well-maintained and there is a flow of nutrients between the soil, the plants and the animals.

Growing legumes is good for both pastured and zero-grazed animals. Pastured animals can feed on legume residues and drop their manure in the field. In zero grazing, farmers can cut and carry legume residues to tethered animals.

Poor soils will never give good production of crops or animal feed. We should expect to have poor animals if we have poor soil. The health of animals will deteriorate and farmers will earn little from animal products if the soil is poor.

Keeping livestock like dairy cattle, poultry, rabbits, sheep, or goats can be beneficial to farmers because it’s like a circle. The animal droppings fertilize the crops, and the crop residues feed the animals. When livestock keeping is integrated with farming, farmers will enjoy many advantages.

For more information, ask any agricultural worker or your fellow farmer who has already benefited from integrating animals and crop farming.

Till next time, at the same time on the same station, I am your presenter, Lazarus Laiser. Bye for now.

Acknowledgements

Contributed by:  Senior writer Lazarus Laiser, Radio Habari Maalum, Arusha, Tanzania, a Farm Radio International broadcasting partner.

Reviewed by: John Fitzsimons, Associate Professor, University of Guelph, Canada.

Information sources

Interview with farmer Lomayani Kuyan Mollel, Ekenywa Village, Ngaramtoni, Arusha, 13th July 2010.

Program undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

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