The rural community of Kasenamun, in Ghana’s Upper East Region, is quiet other than the light wind and rhythmic chirping of guinea fowl in the background. Here, long-time farmer Albert Asorigiya has tripled his production in the past year, earning him a best regional farmer award from Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture in November of 2016.
The 50-year-old farmer owns 281 young and 296 mature guinea fowl. A radio program airing on URA Radio for the past two years with the support of Farm Radio International has helped him to raise the birds with greater success, increasing his standard of living.
“[Raising guinea fowl] has improved my life and it makes me happy. I used it to pay my children’s school fee and my health insurance card.”
Albert says the radio program provided valuable information, teaching him about the importance of housing structures, administering antibiotics and other veterinary medications, and how to ensure good nutrition. The daily program also enabled him to personally contribute his knowledge.
“I participate in the radio program any time they call me … And any time the program is on, I also call to explain my experience and what I do to get a good number of guinea fowls. I also tell them what my friends, my brothers, my sisters can also do to get a good number of guinea fowls.”
Michael Akaburi is a technical officer at the department of agriculture at the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly in Upper East Region. He says that, with the spread of improved practices raising guinea fowl has changed in northern Ghana from “just another way of life passed down from parents to children” to a business that farmers can increasingly rely on for their livelihoods.
“Common practices for guinea fowl farming in the north used to include lack of housing, which meant the birds roamed around free, which also led to improper feeding and lack of medication,” he explains. “As part of efforts made by many organizations—especially Farm Radio International—on educating farmers about guinea fowl, a lot of changes have been taking place in recent years. So it is no longer only for the aged, but a lucrative business for all—[and] not just in the north, but also in [the rest of] Ghana.”
Albert says he learned important business and marketing skills through the radio program, which helped him gain better access to markets for his guinea fowl and other produce.
He explains, “At times we call these large hotels and restaurants to come and buy them. At other times, we will put the guinea fowl in a cage and send them to Kumasi and sell.”
With his recent success, Albert says he plans to continue expanding his guinea fowl farming. He adds, “I think coming 2017, 2018, I should be talking about a 10,000 guinea fowl base. It makes me [feel] fine and I’m happy because of my hard work. I believe it will help me.”