Despite raising guinea fowl since 2008, Apialore Alagiwugah used to have trouble keeping the babies, called keets, alive into adulthood. Often the cold would kill the birds. Other times, sickness and worms would be the culprit. Sometimes he would lose keets without understanding why. But a program on his local radio station is changing that.
“We used to leave our guinea fowl to sleep on trees,” he says. “But the program [on URA Radio] has taught us that we have to keep [them] inside so that we can always keep an eye on them.”
Before the program, Apialore, who lives in Paga in the Upper East Region of northern Ghana, had no idea that worms were infecting his flock. When birds died, he was left unsure of what to do to prevent similar deaths in the future. Listening to URA Radio’s program on the guinea fowl value chain taught him to recognize the worm infection, as well as how to treat it.
The techniques that Apialore learned from the program range from protecting the eggs before they hatch to selling the guinea fowl. He uses brood hens to make sure the eggs are kept warm until they hatch, makes sure they have the right feed throughout their lives, and also makes sure he keeps records so that he knows how many guinea fowl he has and is able to sell.
With the music the program plays drawing him to the program, Apialore makes sure he can listen as often as possible. And the mortality rate of his guinea fowl has greatly decreased as a result.
“The program motivates me to try and farm more,” he says. “So farming more increases my yield which then helps myself and my family. When outsiders come to my farm, they say ‘Wow,’ and my family is happy when they visit.”
And it’s not just Apialore who is gaining from the program.
“The program has helped us to reduce poverty, especially for those of us who farm guinea fowl. There is low employment here, and most job opportunities are just farming. When we continue to farm now, it helps us to pay for bills: hospital bills, school fees and even health insurance,” he says.
“Now, wherever you go you see guinea fowl prancing about.”