USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer program: 12,000 volunteer assignments and counting
December 5 is International Volunteer Day, an opportunity to actively serve and to reflect on the strides that volunteers have made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Agrilinks would like to thank all organizations and individuals who have given their time to support small farmers and rural communities across the world.
One of USAID’s longest-running volunteer programs is the Farmer-to-Farmer program. Since its initiation in 1985, over 12,000 volunteer assignments have been completed in over 80 countries. The program relies on the expertise of volunteers from U.S. farms, land grant universities, cooperatives, private agribusinesses, and nonprofit farm organizations to respond to the local needs of host-country farmers and organizations. Volunteers, recruited from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, generally are not overseas development professionals, but rather individuals who have domestic careers, farms, and agribusinesses, or are retirees who want to participate in development efforts. Volunteers help host-country individuals and organizations to build local institutions and linkages to resolve local problems and have provided direct hands-on training to over 80,000 people.
Next Wednesday, Agrilinks will be hosting an Ag Sector Council seminar on the Farmer-to-Farmer program. Speakers from Winrock International, CNFA, and VEGA will showcase three examples of innovative integration of Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers, include combating Avian Influenza in East Africa, mechanizing Georgian agriculture, and engaging venture capital to strengthen agricultural value chains in Morocco. Please join us in person or via webinar!
If you would like more stories and examples from the Farmer-to-Farmer program, check out the following resources:
- USAID page on the Farmer-to-Farmer program
- Agrilinks blog post: Farmer-Teacher-Volunteer
- Farmer-to-Farmer blog from Partners of the Americas
- Blog by ACDI/VOCA: A Day in the life of USAID Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers