Discussing soil quality in one of Hauraruni's small beds. From left to right: Shaun Francis, FTF Field Officer; Jagat Jacob, Hauraruni Friendly Farmers Society Secretary; Jennifer Kushner, M&E Specialist; Mr. Frederick, shadehouse owner. The shadehouse and new drip irrigation system is in the background.
For the past several days I have been visiting Farmer to Farmer projects in Guyana to monitor progress and identify future needs. Yesterday I traveled with our team to visit the Hauraruni Friendly Farmers Society, which is located in a comparatively hilly and sandy part of Guyana. And if you are wondering, yes they are extremely friendly! Last year, two volunteers visited the community to assist with different aspects of shadehouse production of vegetables. Volunteer Grady Sampson installed a gravity-fed drip irrigation system together with the farm managers. This is a new technology for them and it is increasing the quality and productivity of the beds. The farmers grow vegetables such as celery, sweet and hot peppers, and tomatoes.
They reported that having fresh vegetables in the community has improved nutrition of the community members, and the vegetables sell quickly in the local markets. There are 26 families in the community and they hope to increase production to provide improved nutrition, capacity to export in the future, and increased employment and income. With the combined help of other organizations such as the Guyana Trade and Investment Support, also a USAID program, the community has begun to erect new shadehouse structures and are preparing fields to grow papaya. Farmer to Farmer will soon be sending a volunteer to assist with open field irrigation, and there is a need for training in soil preparation to mitigate infected soil beds.
The community members have high hopes for their farm and are working to improve their technologies. With training, in 3-5 years they plan to receive GAP certification which would facilitate export.
Inside the shadehouse, tomatoes are growing next to a bed from which celery was recently harvested.