Ayesiya Akangki and Ayiba Adaaja, farmers and brothers, work tirelessly on their rice field in the Upper East Region of Ghana, near the Burkina Faso border. The effort won Ayesiya, owner and main farmer of the land, the best regional rice farmer award in November 2016.
Ayesiya says his farm means everything to him: it is his job, his main source of income, and the place where he spends most days of his life — in the calming quiet of the countryside, in silence, with nothing but bugs chirping rhythmically in the distance.
“The farm is good to help you with everything. Your children’s’ school, your sickness, if you want to go to hospital. It will help you a long, long time.”
Some of the things that Ayesiya has learned from the program include weather forecast monitoring and fertilizer application. He says that what he has learned over the radio has played a key role in improving the quality and success of his farming practices.
“Farm Radio, they are always giving us training. If it will rain, they can tell us to not go and throw our fertilizer otherwise the rain will wash it away. So that day we watch, and the following day we can go and put the fertilizer on the farm. So we need Farm Radio to help. Me and my father, we are doing farming and training, and back then when we were farming we didn’t get rice like we did this time. So this time we get more yield than the past year. We get plenty of rice.”
Other skills Ayesiya and Ayiba have learned from the program include seed planting. Whereas they used to plant three to five seeds in one hole, they now purchase more quality seeds and only plant one per hole. It has allowed them to nearly triple their harvest.
“We take one seed. Before we used to have 3 or 5 seeds for planting, but because of the training, but now we know to use less and also to use better seeds. It changed because that time we didn’t get more yield. But this we get more. We can harvest about 25 bags but that time we only got about 7 or 10 bags.”
Ayesiya says the award motivates him to work harder.
“In the past I didn’t get award, I didn’t work hard. But this time, I get the award and I want to work hard so that we do more than we did before.”