Every time Modesta Joseph Masanyiwa tried to raise chickens, she would lose almost all of them due to an outbreak of epidemic diseases. This all changed when she started giving her chickens preventive vaccines.
Masanyiwa, 35, lives in the Nyang’homango village in Misungwi district, Mwanza region, of Tanzania.
She was practicing traditional animal husbandry for years until a team of experts, the Ultravetis promotion team, visited her village and explained the importance of modern practices.
Five months later, Masanyiwa also started listening to a series of radio programs through Radio Jembe FM. The programs discussed the general practices on livestock health management, discussions that convinced her to adopt modernized practices.
“The programs series came at the right time because it complimented what was initiated by the team of experts who visited my village,” she says.
Masanyiwa says that “after many years of loss, the radio programs have given me new hope for animal husbandry and I feel that I can even benefit more if I continue improving the techniques.”
Interactive radio for livestock health
Masanyiwa is one of many benefiting from the Expanding Interactive Radio for Livestock Health in Tanzania project implemented by Farm Radio International, Elanco Animal Health Incorporated and Ultravetis Tanzania Ltd in partnership with the four radio stations in Mwanza, Arusha, Tanga and Dar es Salaam.
The programs aim to raise awareness among small-scale livestock farmers about animal health, and to give guidance on control and preventative measures for disease.
She says she is already seeing the results from adopting the acquired modernized practices in raising chickens. “Before I received this knowledge, I was getting losses almost whenever there are epidemic diseases whereas all of my chickens were dying. But now my chickens are not dying because I know the protective measures for the diseases.”
Before, Masanyiwa says she practiced free-range chicken husbandry, but after listening to certain episodes, she learned that these practices are associated with many risks. Chickens could be eaten by dangerous animals, infected and even lost.
Control, prevention and increased awareness of disease
“The most important rule for health control of chickens is the consideration of cleanliness of the chicken yard, and to stop the free-range practices because chickens are susceptible to infections of diseases,” she says, talking about what she has learned.
“Last time when there was an outbreak of Newcastle, I lost 15 chickens. It was all I had at that time and I was depending on them for nutrition and earning money to meet the small needs of the family,” she says, remembering the pain she had experienced in the past.
Despite the losses, she did not give up. Because of the encouragement of Radio Jembe FM, she started afresh and now has more than 30 local chickens.
On radio, Masanyiwa says experts taught them many things, but specifically remembers topics like the importance of vaccines, where to get the vaccines, a calendar of vaccinating chickens in 3-month intervals, the application of vaccines, as well as making a better chicken coop.
Masanyiwa, a single parent with four children, is grateful to radio programs and experts who always have been available by phone to assist her and colleagues in the village, adding that often experts make follow up calls to check on their progress.
She recommends her fellow women in the village embrace modern chicken husbandry. For her, she says, the chickens have helped her in meeting the subsistence needs of her family.
The Expanding Interactive Radio for Livestock Health in Tanzania project aims to provide small-scale livestock farmers in four regions of Northern Tanzania with information on livestock health, and to contribute to improved livestock care, through a series of radio programs. The programs are supported by Farm Radio International in partnership with Elanco Animal Health Incorporated and Ultravetis Tanzania Ltd.