Thursday, December 24, 2009

Photo Contest promoting entrepreneurs in Developing Countries

This could be an way to put all those photos to work and make a few dollars for Makouti or another project in Haiti. Haiti is loaded with entrepreneurs. Go to the website and check it out. http://www.sevenfund.org/entrepreneur-image/index.php

“I Am An Entrepreneur” Photo Competition

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Contest details

Cambridge, MA – December 1, 2009 – The SEVEN Fund is pleased to announce the ‘I Am an Entrepreneur’ photography competition. This competition recognizes the outstanding use of photography to tell compelling stories of role model entrepreneurs from around the world. Anyone is welcome to participate in this competition. The competition will award twelve (12) prizes, one per month, over a period of one year. Each month, one finalist will be selected and will receive a prize of $100. The grand prize winner (selected from among the 12 finalist photographs) will receive $1,000 at the end of the year.
Often, the imagery associated with developing nations captures the misery that accompanies poverty. While it is important that these things are taken seriously and are documented, we believe that developing nations also represent tremendous opportunities for hope. The “I am an Entrepreneur” competition strives to reframe the dialogue around solutions to poverty by infusing the world's imagination with new imagery that focuses on entrepreneurship. Our objective with this competition is to gather stunning photographs profiling individual entrepreneurs from around the globe.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Guyanese Farmer Prospers with Hydroponics

Guyana's Kaieteur News Online published an article on December 12 which tells the story of a farmer from Hauraruni who is prospering, despite poor soil, with the help of a new hydroponics system and support from Farmer to Farmer volunteers and local organizations. The full article, "Highway farmer grows food where soil is no good", can be read here: http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com/2009/12/12/highway-farmer-grows-food-where-soil-is-no-good/ In the spring of 2009 Farmer to Farmer volunteer Grady Sampson, from Clemson University, traveled to assist farmers with the hydroponics system. Grady was recruited by Partners of the Americas' Mississippi Chapter, which is partnered with the Guyana Chapter of Partners of the Americas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Update from Haiti!

Haiti is currently facing an outbreak of Teschen Disease in its pigs. This is like polio for pigs. It is NOT contagious to humans but humans can spread the disease. As a volunteer travelling in Haiti you do risk accidently bringing this disease back to the USA if you are not careful. Therefore it is important that you wash your hands well after handling animals or soil. I carry disinfectant wipes with me since soap and water are not always easy to find. I also clean and disinfect my shoes if I think I may have been in contact with a contaminated area. I always do this the night before I leave Haiti and again when I get home. All my travel clothes go straight into the washing machine.
I am not telling you this to discourage you or to make you paranoid. As a veterinarian working with FTF in Haiti for 3 years, I have my hands literally in lots of diseases. I am also a farmer in California which makes me a high risk traveler and a potential threat to our food chain and my personal farm business. None of us wants to accidently be the point person who starts an epidemic. Luckily a little precaution goes a long way.
As an FTF volunteer in agriculture you will likely be asked about this disease by many Haitians. Here is some advice you can pass on that may help them get through this difficult impact to their economy and their food supply.
In Creole this disease is called Ren Casse or broken kidneys. The symptoms are as follows: Initially the pig may go off its feed and be a little depressed for a day or two. After that it may be fine with a good appetite and normal temperature. The pig then partially loses the use of its back legs. This may progress to its thighs, then rear end of its body and become a total paralysis. Severe cases are irreversible and the pigs die within a week.
There currently is no vaccine available because it has not been seen in Haiti in the last 15 years. It started in the Artibonite valley. It is suspected that it came in on a ship. I have been told that it will take a year before a vaccine can be available if at all. The incubation period is about 2 weeks. Isolation will protect the pigs but will be difficult in the long run as the virus spreads. Not all the pigs will die. The survivors will become resistant and the epidemic will pass. The big problem is that all the pigs are susceptible because it has been so long since the last infection. The good news is that it is not contagious to humans and the meat is safe to eat. What is a big problem is that the water used to wash the intestines out and rinse the meat is contaminated and will infect the area where it is dumped and infect more pigs. It is very important that this water not be fed to pigs, especially piglets who are just weaned.
It is of no value to treat the animals with antibiotics since it is a virus. Instead spend the money on feeding the pigs really well and keeping them clean. Give them lots of water and make sure it is not already contaminated. This will hopefully keep their exposure levels low so they only have a mild case and can then become resistant. Good nutrition will keep their immune systems strong. If they have parasites, worming them will help, but is best done before they get sick. Don't breed any sows while the disease is in the neighborhood as pregnancy makes them more susceptible. Once it has passed they may cautiously start breeding again. Most of the piglets will have some immunity from the mother’s colostrum and maternal antibodies, but will be susceptible to a mild form of the disease after weaning. Hygiene is thus very important at this point. After this they are resistant. These animals will then help rebuild the pig herds.
Here is some more information: http://www.thepigsite.com/diseaseinfo/121/teschen-disease http://www.thepigsite.com/pighealth/article/457/teschen-disease
Please feel free to contact me with any new information or questions. myriamsemail@gmail.com
Good luck and happy holidays,

Saturday, December 12, 2009

organic greenhouse methods in the D.R.

We are wrapping up a two week training process in the D.R. before heading off for a week in Haiti. Our assignment here has been to conduct training sessions in various subjects of organic greenhouse management. We worked with three different local NGO's, each of whom has projects in greenhouse cultivation of sweet bell peppers. The greenhouses are operated by groups of 3-10 growers who work cooperatively. Depending upon the organization, the groups are either comprised exclusively of women, or made up of a mixture of men and women. Each of the three different NGO's with whom we collaborated had its own position on organic practices, ranging from those who were interested in adopting some organic methods as a means of reducing production costs to those who were committed to natural resource conservation and see organic production as a means of achieving that goal. We introduced a range of subjects during our meetings with growers. Topics such as organic foliar feeding applications made of compost tea and organic pesticide recipes were pretty easy for the growers to relate to. We also focused on slightly more complicated topics like solarization for soil diseasse management, mulching for water conservation and soil protection, and cover crops for fertility and crop diversity. Some groups were interested in learning about the requirements for organic certification. Others wanted to learn about seedling production to help them increase their quality control. And with several groups we went over record-keeping uses and processes. If I could come back in a year and see just one of these topics in use, it would be cover crops in the greenhouses. Of all the areas we addressed, this one is perhaps the most challenging for people to comprehend. As farmers, we understand the mental shift it takes to think of a cover crop as an investment in the soil, something you are harvesting not just for yourself but for the long-term health of your farming system. With the monoculture production of peppers year after year in the same soil, cover crops are one of the easiest, cheapest, and most effective means of achieving crop rotations and increased organic matter, among the many other benefits. I'm looking forward to following up with Juan Villar in a few months to see if this concept gets any traction with the growers. It's been a great two weeks! Emily Oakley and Mike Appel Three Springs Farm Oaks, OK