Since its inception, Literacy Bridge has won a number of awards. Now our farmers are winning awards, as well.
Two farmers from communities being served by the Talking Book have won Best Farmer awards in the Jirapa District. The awards were handed out during National Farmers Day – a day of celebration in Ghana to honor farmers for their hard work and accomplishments. Each district in Ghana holds an annual fair on this special day when farmers are able to gather together to celebrate, display their best crops and compete for awards in various categories.
Literacy Bridge founder and executive director Cliff Schmidt and in-country field coordinator Fidelis Da-Uri were on hand on November 2 to witness the awards being presented to Maalong Ndiko-ang as Best Groundnuts Farmer and to Sutaa Boofirenuo as Best Beans Farmer.
Fidelis had an opportunity to speak to Maalong Ndiko-ang shortly after he won his title. Maalong is 26 years old and has been a farmer most of his life. He is married with three young children and his household includes four adult family members. Although his children are going school, none of the adults in the household have had a formal education. They are all farmers.
Maalong said that he grows many types of crops on his farm, including groundnuts, Bambara beans, beans, millet, guinea corn, maize and tuber crops. “Groundnuts, beans, maize and Bambara beans are the ones with most viability,” he elaborated.
Prior to being introduced to the Talking Book, Maalong told Fidelis that he only harvested 15 bags of groundnuts. With the help of the Talking Book, this year he was able to increase his groundnut crop yield to 28 bags.
“Each of those awarded the title of Best Farmer is chosen by Ghana’s Ministry of Food & Agriculture (MoFA) based on a strict selection criteria,” said Cliff. “To qualify for this competition, a farmer must be able to demonstrate knowledge and successful application of MoFA’s farming guidance.”
When asked what made him decide to apply the knowledge he learned from the Talking Book, Maalong said, “I found the messages very useful and more importantly, these messages were recorded by agricultural experts. That’s why I trust [these messages].”
Maalong shares the new information he learned such as when is a good time to start or end sowing, how to sow to give the plants ventilation, and how to control weeds with other farmers. “I believe it is because I applied what I learnt from the Talking Book that I increase the crop yield so significantly. This qualified me to be the best groundnut farmer in the whole district. The agriculture information is so helpful that I’d like to call the Talking Book as ‘Farmer’s Radio’.”
“The successful increase in crop yields for Maalong and Sutaa serve to demonstrate the success of Literacy Bridge’s program model. Our partnerships with local experts to produce and record actionable lessons and then being able to deliver these messages through the Talking Book show how the Talking Book can significantly impact learning and behavior change, particularly in inaccessible rural areas with low literacy rates,” said Cliff.
Congratulations to Maalong and Sutaa on their awards.