2. Ghana: Spinning a new type of crop (Spore, The Financial Express)

| August 31, 2009

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Most farmers hate to see bugs crawling on their crops. But silk farmers actually encourage it. They grow mulberry trees especially for silkworms, and encourage the bugs to feast on the leaves. Since silk farming was introduced to Ghana in 1992, many farmers have planted mulberry trees to try the venture.

Iddrisu Lindowo is one of them. He’s the chairman of the Kpaliga Tree Growers’ Association in northern Ghana. He explains the process of growing silk worms.

Mr. Lindowo receives boxes of eggs at the beginning of the rainy season. The eggs are supplied through an outreach program at Ghana’s University for Development Studies. Each box contains more than 20,000 silkworm eggs. In the months to come, Mr. Lindowo will coax each egg to develop into a silk worm. In time, each worm will spin a cocoon. Cocoons are sold to a local factory for five American dollars (about 3.5 Euros) per kilogram.

Farmers in regions across the country supplement their incomes in this way. By nurturing valuable silk worms one by one, they are putting Ghana on track to emerge as a major silk producer on the level of China and India.

Raising economically beneficial insects can be a surprisingly lucrative business for African farmers. These scripts and FRW news stories prove that bugs aren’t always a farmer’s foe:

-Butterfly farming generates income for rural community and protects the forest (Package 87, Script 2, April 2009): http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/87-2script_en.asp
-“Kenya: Butterfly farming takes wing” (FRW#17, April 2008)
-“Uganda: Beekeeping and tree farming go hand-in-hand” (FRW#43, November 2008)
-Archive of Farm Radio International scripts on livestock and beekeeping: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/livestock.asp