Zambia: Radio spreads pearls of wisdom, helps farmer raise swine (by Mutimba Mazwi, for Farm Radio Weekly in Zambia)

| February 13, 2012

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Theresa Bowa is a 27-year old farmer from Mumbwa District, in Zambia’s Central Province. She listens to QFM to keep abreast of matters in the world around her. But the radio gives her more than news. As a small-scale farmer, she gets information that is useful for her livelihood.

She listens to market prices on the radio. This is vital information for small-scale farmers who need to sell their produce. She says, “The reason I love QFM is that even when I miss out on the latest developments in agriculture, they still send me updates to my mobile phone using SMS.”

Theresa’s interactions with the radio have brought her an added benefit. She explains: “I was able to get information about the market for pigs. Not only that, QFM has always been on hand with weekly updates about which markets are in need of my fully grown pigs.”

Dr. Bowa (no relation to Theresa) is a veterinary doctor with specialized knowledge of livestock breeding and disease prevention. He is a frequent guest on farm radio shows. Dr. Bowa credits QFM with changing Theresa’s fortunes.

“Without them, Theresa would not have made it,” he says.

Another farmer who has benefitted from listening to the radio is Mrs. Albertina Chibesa. Mrs. Chibesa went into the poultry business after hearing on QFM that breeders were offering chicks at a discount.

She says, “I thought to myself: Why have I been missing out on such great opportunities.”

Fully grown chickens fetch about six and a half US dollars each. But Mrs. Chibesa says that until she heard about cheap ways of making feed, she spent about half of her earnings to buy it.

She explains, “I used to spend about three dollars on feed and vaccines per chick.” But now, by using a feed formula provided to her by QFM and Dr. Bowa, she has lowered her feed costs by 25 per cent.

Mrs. Chibesa continues, “This means good profit margins for me as well. One bag of starter feed for broilers costs $32 US dollars. Making it alone has put the cost of producing one bag at about $24.”

She says, “If it were not for QFM radio, I would not be basking in this kind of excitement.”