Photo and video by Jesse Winter
Apialore Alagiwugah lives in Banyono, a community in northern Ghana. Like many farmers in the Upper East Region, he raises guinea fowl, which are native to the area. And, like most guinea fowl farmers he knows, he has been struggling to keep his small brood alive.
“[If] we get about a thousand of them maybe 500 will die or 700 will die, no matter what they will die so [we] don’t know what to do about the small keets.”
In northern Ghana, 90 percent of farmers raise guinea fowl, but approximately 70 percent of keets (baby guinea fowl) die. That’s why we’re working with URA Radio to help guinea fowl farmers like Apialore raise more keets into adulthood.
We first met Apialore before URA Radio started broadcasting about guinea fowl when we conducted interviews with guinea fowl farmers in order to better understand what information needed to be shared through the radio campaign. The resulting radio program is sharing vital information on how to best house and raise keets to ensure that more survive into adulthood. Farmers are getting information on hatcheries and incubators to keep guinea hens and keets together, safe and warm. Farmers are also advised to use chickens to incubate any eggs abandoned by guinea hens when they take their keets into the wild. They have also been learning about marketing. Apialore, who is also the vice-chairperson of his local guinea fowl farmers association, had this to say about how practices changed as a result of the radio program:
“There were times they would go anywhere they like or they would sleep in trees. Now the association will know how to handle them, how to give them drugs, how to maintain them. The small ones are good as long as we just keep them where the cool cannot enter. At times we can put a box on it to maintain the heat so that the cool cannot get in so they don’t get pneumonia and what and what. So we can confine them very nicely for four or three weeks and then open them.”
Despite his struggles, Apialore has been able to use income from his guinea fowl to pay school fees for his nine children. Guinea fowl are an important source of protein for farming families, as well as a good source of extra income — especially with the help of radio. Apialore says that radio has helped him keep more of his keets alive.
“Farm Radio is very, very, very, good because of [how] the radio show support[s] us. Because if you listen to the radio you see how another person deals with guinea fowl.”
This radio campaign for guinea fowl farmers in Ghana is part of our “Radio for farmer value chain development” project, which was awarded the 2015 WSIS Project Prize for its use of innovative information and communication technologies to support development. Funded by Global Affairs Canada, this project aims to support farmers’ role in the value chain, which encompasses each step of getting products to market, from seed to sale — or from egg to guinea fowl to market. So far, it has reached more than four million farmers through 11 radio stations in Malawi, Tanzania, Ghana, and Mali.