Agrilinks Blog Carnival: Our Overall Experience and Lessons Learned from a Farmer-to-Farmer Project
By Linda Naeve, Extension Program Specialist, Value Added Agriculture Program, Iowa State University, and Co-leader of the project.
This article is a contribution to a week-long blog carnival on USAID's John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program. From July 14-18, F2F program partners and American volunteers shared their knowledge and experience of providing technical assistance to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, service providers, and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries. You can find all contributions on Agrilinks.
Speaking for all of the 14 volunteers and 2 leaders who were on our Bridging the Gap, Farmer-to-Farmer team, the opportunity to work with a team of volunteers and dedicated staff from a local NGO on this Farmer-to-Farmer project in Uganda was extremely rewarding and a life-altering experience. We accomplished a lot and believe we made an impact on the lives of many families. We also made many new friends that we will never forget.
A few of our accomplishments were:
- By the end of the second project, the women farmers told us they could now store their grain up to five or six months as compared to only one month at the beginning of the project. This gave them more for home consumption and to sell when the price was high.
- The farmers recognized the value of farm record keeping.
- The farmers were getting higher prices for their grain due to improved quality.
- The farmers increased their soybean production, sales and consumption. They could feel and see the difference that soybeans in their diet had on their health and the health and well-being of their children.
- The farmers learned to market grain collectively for greater profitability.
- Final interviews with the individual farmers showed that ninety-six percent of them said the project brought a number of positive changes in their households.
- Farming has several common denominators and challenges no matter where you farm.
- Through the Farmer-to-Farmer program, every one learns from each other.
- Don’t let language be a barrier. Farmers seem to understand the same universal language.
- Availability of simple tools and supplies can make a huge impact on the livelihoods of farmers.
- Even small successes can have positive rippling impacts.
As aligned with Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative, F2F works to support inclusive agriculture sector growth, facilitate private sector engagement in the agriculture sector, enhance development of local capacity and promote climate-smart development. Volunteer assignments address host-led priorities to expand economic growth that increases incomes and improves access to nutritious food. Read more articles on this topic on Agrilinks. Also, make sure to subscribe to receive a daily digest in your inbox, for one week only!