In many African countries, groundnuts (known in North America as peanuts) are a crop of choice for small-scale farmers. They are relatively inexpensive to grow, and do not require highly specialized skills or expensive equipment. Because groundnuts add nitrogen to the soil, farmers can get a reasonable yield without heavy inputs of chemical or organic fertilizers. This means that groundnuts can provide a good source of household income. They are also a rich source of nutrition, providing an affordable source of protein to farming families. The nut can be eaten as a roasted snack, processed to create oil and peanut butter, and used as livestock feed.
Sadly, a substance called aflatoxin is keeping many African families from being able to get the income and nutrition they need from groundnuts. Aflatoxin is the by-product of a mould that commonly affects the groundnut plant. It is known to contribute to cancer, and is especially dangerous for children. Aflatoxin is keeping many groundnut farmers from getting a good price for what was once a profitable crop. And potentially contaminated groundnuts are being sold and eaten because of the difficulty in detecting aflatoxin.
There is a solution to this problem, and it does not involve halting the production of nutritious and delicious groundnuts. It involves information and — you got it — radio. Our latest Farm Radio Resource Pack features best practices for growing this important crop. Included is an issue pack on groundnut production, a four-episode drama on how to avoid aflatoxin contamination in groundnuts, mini-dramas on seed and land preparation for groundnuts, and an interview with groundnut farmers enrolled in a successful farm business school.
As well as groundnuts, the Pack includes several items on other topics requested by our partners. These include interviews with two Kenyan farmers who grow and dry mangoes for processing, Ethiopian farmers trying to adapt to climate change, a Zambian woman whose yields have soared with conservation agriculture, and three Ugandan farmers who are raising goats for nutrition and profit. As always, we include a valuable broadcaster “how to” guide — this one on how to use music in farmer programs. To read the this Farm Radio Resource Pack and accompanying broadcaster newsletter, Voices, click here.