Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Agrilinks Blog Carnival: Why the Farmer-to-Farmer Project Mattered

By Lori Lang, F2F Volunteer, farmer from Vinton, Iowa

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.

Mbira Rose, a Ugandan Farmer, and I share a “farmer moment” in her soybean field.The Farmer-to-Farmer Project mattered because farmers are farmers the world around, it doesn’t matter what crop we raise or what tools we use to do it. We are feeding our family and others, and caring for the land that we love.

There are a few people in life that you meet that, despite your differences, you are instantly bonded. I never thought I would travel half way around the world and meet one of those types of people in a soybean field. Mbira is full of life and works hard to use the best management practices for her farm. She loved every minute of showing us her fields and the bountiful crops she was about to harvest.  Farmers love to show their crops to others.

Some farmers prepare their soybeans by roasting them, and grinding them with a pestle and mortar to make soy flour.  They allowed me to try this technique, and even though my effort was poor, they encouraged me.  They gently taught me the proper technique and didn’t let me skimp on quality when I was tired. They danced a dance of celebration when I finished.  Farmers love to teach.

I ground roasted soybeans with a pestle and mortar before it was used to make soy milk.

 

These farmers let us try our hand at plowing.  This is very, very hard work and most farmers do not have access to this so they must hoe the ground by hand to prepare the soil for planting.  Farmers love to show you the latest technology that is making their operation run more efficiently and increase food security.  Farmers love to learn.

I took my turn plowing a field with oxen.

Many expressed how much better they feel and look, and were so grateful to us.  It is very humbling to work with people that are so gracious and loving and compassionate.  Working with these farmers made a difference in my life.  Farmers love each other.

This young child greeted me in a traditional curtsy. Her parents brought her to show us how much healthier she was because of the improvement in her diet as a result of eating soybeans.

The Farmer-to-Farmer Project mattered because of the relationships we developed, the ideas we exchanged, the learning about each other’s difficulties and celebration of each other’s successes.  It made a difference because of the improvements it made to our farms and especially our families.

 

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!