Agrilinks Blog Carnival: Voices From Farmer-to-Farmer
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.
Today, we’ll let the F2F volunteers, hosts, partners, and administrators do the talking!
“Before volunteers from Farmer-to-Farmer came, the situation with bees was not good. But after trainings from them, I can now send my children to school and take care of my family. Before I could not even dream about owning a donkey and now I have a motorcycle. And I have more dreams. This makes me proud.”
— Anonymous, beekeeper and Farmer-to-Farmer host in Haiti
“These assignments have been the most professionally and personally rewarding of any work I have ever completed. Our work touches thousands of individuals and families and is most humbling.”
— Dr. David Henzler, Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer
“Everyone says it is good to protect forests. But now, through training, we have increased our understanding of the tangible benefits of these actions.”
— Anonymous, Farmer-to-Farmer Trainee at L’Ecole Nationale des Agents Techniques des Eaux et Forêts in Guinea
“I worked all my life, and now I get to travel and take what I know and help people. I recommend it to anybody.”
— Steve Morgan, Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer
“I thank F2F for the training. ACDIVOCA did not give us money but the organization gave us knowledge and knowledge gives one power and money.”
— Augustine Moore, Chairman of the Gborfella Farmers Association and Farmer-to-Farmer host in Liberia
“I truly enjoyed helping to improve lives of farmers and agribusinesses in Tajikistan. An opportunity such as this is second-to-none. This international travel opportunity provided a venue for me to meet and reach out to individuals I may not have encountered otherwise. This program offered two cultures the chance to learn about each other, create working relationships and foster lasting connections.”
— Tim Bowser, Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer (quoted on the Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center website at Oklahoma State University)
“Through the F2F training process and being part of a group, I lost the fear of facing people… now I feel part of the society. I’ve met many volunteers, and I’ve learned a lot. My dream is to be productive and earn money to help my family.”
— David Rodriguez, youth entrepreneur and Farmer-to-Farmer host in El Salvador
“I have seen a tremendous increase in understanding of principles as a result of the five F2F assignments that I have made to Lebanon. Minds have been changed and nutrition and feeding of dairy cows has been improved as a result. I am so pleased to have been able to have the opportunity to observe the transformation taking place in Lebanon during the short span of years. My work has been very well received and it has been a pleasure to maintain contact with many producers on repeat visits and to assist them with new challenges as they adopt new technologies and feeding practices.”
— Anonymous, Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer
“It was not possible for us to have this information in this region even at the cost of one hundred thousand Taka [Bangladesh currency]!”
— Md. Saifuzzaman, Managing Director of Shuvro Matshya Hatchery and Farmer-to-Farmer host in Bangladesh
“In the USA there are 2.8 million goats, so I had something to learn about the Nepalese goat producer. Personally, I was the recipient of a great deal of kindness and hospitality by the Nepalese people, the USAID-EIG Program Staff, and Winrock.”
— Dr. Enrique Escobar, Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer
“I was in the dark with, in my hand, a muddy rock. I was not sure what it was; my highest expectation was it is silver, but Winrock volunteers bring me to light and show me how to clean the rock, and it happens to be a diamond that will change my family life forever.”
— Sékou Mara, beekeeper and Farmer-to-Farmer host in Guinea
“Farmers have already started to implement the recommendations, and are realizing the possibility of better production and a better monetary future. They have come to realize the importance of intricate aspects of poultry farming that are essential to better flocks and the identification of poultry diseases. They have also begun to put into play bio-security measures that will safeguard their total farm operation. This will begin to enhance their farm business for years to come.”
— Keith Ellis, Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer
“I attended the dairy and the horticulture training, and also observed when the soil testing was done. Now, I feel like I know important agricultural issues. So, I will practice agriculture when I finish my education!”
— Meron Girma, 9th grader at Sebeta Getesemane Orphanage and Farmer-to-Farmer host in Ethiopia
“Watching the many faces of the Kersa producers as they began to understand about the time needed to produce higher quality hay was a big impact. Just this knowledge could mean that these producers now know how to feed their animals better through the dry months, keeping their animals’ condition up and making them more marketable and receiving a higher price.”
— Nancy Morey, Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer
"The volunteer motivated us by his quick and skillful performance but also through his goal oriented new initiative. I felt very energized and inspired to embark on this unique production demonstrated by him. I like to watch the training video."
— Anonymous, technologist of Noyonii Hishig Ltd and Farmer-to-Farmer host in Mongolia
"Volunteerism is an important part of America's response to problems in the developing world. From the Peace Corps to today's Farmer-to-Farmer programs, American volunteers have been making a difference in these countries for 50 years."
— Andrew Natsios, former-USAID Administrator (quoted in Managing International Volunteer Programs: A Farmer-to-Farmer Program Manual, pg. 10, 2005)
“The F2F training has been important not only for Prime Milk, but for other farmers/families in Ethiopia. The knowledge is not only helping the company to improve our business but also helped us provide the skills to other similar companies.”
— Dr. Mahari Teklu, farm manager and veterinarian and Farmer-to-Farmer host in Ethiopia
"I saw different communities coming together as one person, pursuing one goal after my presentation. They finally voted and established a Reflection Committee of 9 persons to lead the project and move forward. Most importantly, I heard them saying: 'we are ready to start a new life with coffee production.'"
— Jean Tsafack-Djiague, Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer
“[F2F volunteer] Howard [Prussack] was just what we asked for, bringing practical solutions to real world problems. This is a program that changes lives, and we appreciate USAID, Winrock and US Congressional support.”
— Paula Helfrich, coordinator at Myanmar Business Coalition on AIDS and Farmer-to-Farmer host in Burma
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!