This World Food Day, we’re showcasing one of our projects that shows how basic agriculture information can not only help farmers raise nutritious animals for food, but how they can spark a business that will help them achieve long-term sustainable food security.
In northern Ghana, nine out of 10 households raise guinea fowl. These birds play a significant role in food security in this part of the country.
Guinea fowl is highly nutritious; the meat contains more protein than chicken and it is low in fat and cholesterol. There is high demand for both meat and eggs.
The problem is that farmers face many struggles when it comes to raising healthy birds. High keet mortality is a major factor that limits a farmer’s ability to raise these birds as a business.
Alhassan Abdulai has been raising guinea fowl for three years. He is also the housekeeper and logistics coordinator for Farm Radio’s Tamale office. Alhassan was constantly disappointed to find his keets were not surviving.
“They keep on dying, keep on dying, keep on dying…”
Alhassan is not alone in his struggles. Contaminated feeders and drinkers, inadequate space, disease, heat and cold all account for farmers’ struggles in raising healthy birds.
Luckily for Alhassan, the solution lay within his workplace.
In July 2018, Farm Radio, in collaboration with World University Service of Canada as part of the Uniterra program, launched a 12 week participatory radio campaign on guinea fowl farming. The program airs every Saturday on GBC Radio Savannah in Tamale, the capital of the Northern Region.
The program brings together various stakeholders within the guinea fowl value chain to educate farmers on best practices for rearing these birds. The program also encourages the involvement of women and youth; a demographic that has traditionally been left out of the guinea fowl business. Kpang Saha Kpang Daabilgu, which is broadcast in the local Dagbanli language translates to “Guinea Fowl Time Guinea Fowl Business.”
Alhassan says the program has been highly informative. Thanks to newfound knowledge about housing and feeding, his keet are stronger than ever.
“I learned a lot from the radio station that we shouldn’t allow them to go out early in the morning because the weather is cool by that time…and then food to give them and water to give them,” he says. “I do apply that and because of that there are only two dead and the rest are there and they are very strong.”
However, guinea fowl farmers gain something more than just a bird to eat. When they successfully raise the keets, they can turn the birds into a healthy business, selling some of the fowl or eggs to gain money to serve a more diverse and nutritious amount of food to their families.
The radio program on GBC also provides marketing information to farmers, so they can sell the guinea fowl eggs to support his families basic needs.
Alhassan says he’s seen success from this, selling half of his eggs for 100 Ghana cedis, around $27 Canadian. The money, he says, paid for a trip for his wife to see her sister, but also for the family to buy rice to add to their children’s diets.
Radio is a highly effective way to spread knowledge and awareness of best farming practices to even the most remote communities. And as this program approaches its final weeks, farmers across the region can apply their newfound knowledge and expertise to raise healthy guinea fowl to support themselves, their families and their communities for years to come.
It’s interventions like this that can help to achieve zero hunger across the world.
Farm Radio International has partnered with WUSC and CECI’s Uniterra program to implement the Bridging Rural Information Dissemination though Dialogue and Engagement (BRIDGE) program. CECI and WUSC are financially supported by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada, www.international.gc.ca
Uniterra is a leading Canadian international development program that is jointly operated by WUSC and CECI. Each year, 600 volunteers contribute their time and experience to positive and lasting change towards a more equitable world by dedicating a few weeks to two years of their lives to international volunteer work. The program also provides opportunities to get involved in Canada and play an active role in combating poverty.
The Uniterra program receives funding from the Government of Canada, provided through Global Affairs Canada.
For more information and to view available assignments: uniterra.ca