Anais Voski | February 6, 2017
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 last November from Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
Fifty-year-old Mr. Asorigiya owns 281 young and 296 mature guinea fowl. A radio program on the air for the past two years has supported him to raise the birds.
He says, “[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.”
Mr. Asorigiya says the radio program taught him valuable market skills, which pushed his farming success over the edge. He learned about housing, antibiotics and other veterinary medications, and how to supply his guinea fowl with food and water.
The daily program also enabled him to personally contribute his knowledge. He explains: “I participate in the radio program anytime they call me…. And anytime the program is on, I call to explain my experience and what I do to get a good number of guinea fowl. I also tell them what my friends, brothers, and sisters can do to improve their own.”
Michael Akaburi is a technical officer at the department of agriculture at the Bolgatanga Municipal Assembly in Upper East Region. He says raising guinea fowl has changed in northern Ghana from “just another way of life passed down from parents to children” to a business farmers can increasingly rely on for their livelihoods.
He says: “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 adds: “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.”
Mr. Asorigiya 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, Mr. Asorigiya 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.”
Photo credit: Jesse Winter