Voices from the field: Doris Asantewaa, Ghana
Farming and harvesting crops are not the only things farmers in Brong-Ahafo Region struggle with. For farmers like Doris Asantewaa , storing maize can be a major issue. “Anytime I would store my beans, they would spoil. It was worrisome,” she says.
When she heard about new method of storage on Radio B.A.R., she was eager to try it. The AgroTech radio program was promoting the use of PICS — or Purdue Improved Crop Storage — bags. The bags have three layers to keep moisture and pests out, and the contents dry and secure. While the program was promoting maize, the practice can also be used for beans. The next time Doris travelled to Techiman from her home in Boama, she made a point of picking up the bags.
“I decided to try and challenge Radio B.A.R. to see if what they were saying was true,” she says. “But truly, I tried it for three months and when I opened the beans, nothing had happened.”
Because Doris often stores her beans for a long period of time, to wait for better market conditions, the bags are very useful. However, she says the cost of the bags is prohibitive. For now, Doris is using the bags she has to store the beans she plans to plant next season, as well as the ones she plans to keep and eat.
“When I have the opportunity to get more sacks, I will be very happy,” she says.
The radio program that Doris listens to is made possible through USAID’s New Alliance ICT Extension Challenge Fund. This project focuses on using a scalable, integrated suite of ICT-based services to cost-effectively drive behaviour change and help Ghanaian farmers increase their yields of six target crops (maize, rice, soybean, cassava, yam, and cowpeas), thereby improving food security.