Monday, August 30, 2010

Ecuador: Organic Milk Production and Mobile Vet Clinic

In July, Farmer to Farmer Volunteer Joshua Tubbs traveled to Ecuador to appraise animal production practices and assist veterinarians and producer groups in improving their long-term production, mainly for beef and dairy cattle. His trip was carried out in collaboration with the Kentucky and Ecuador Partners of the Americas Chapters, who implement an "Ecuador Highlands and Amazon Livestock Improvement Project" with Western Kentucky University.

While in Ecuador, Mr. Tubbs traveled to the Tungurahua province and El Chaco, a county in the Amazonian region of Ecuador. He traveled with the Mobile Veterinary Unit to de-worm and give vitamin shots to those farmers who requested the veterinary service. One day he and his Ecuadorian counterparts treated around 70 animals for some 35 farmers of which 1/3 were female. He also gave several seminars in topics ranging from grazing systems to biocontrol to U.S. Livestock Handling Guidelines for organic production.

Mr. Tubbs was also surprised with a birthday cake while in Ecuador (Feliz Cumpleanos!), and he puts into words very well the camaraderie and cultural exchange that many volunteers experience while traveling as a Farmer to Farmer volunteer:
My trip to Ecuador with the Farmer to Farmer program has dramatically changed the way I view things. I learned more from the Ecuadorian culture and people than I could have ever taught the in 15 days. I was impressed to see the changes that have taken place since my last trip in 2005... Beyond the volunteer aspect, I was deeply moved by the giving and sharing nature of the people. The people of El Chaco provided me with meals, gifts, and a place to sleep at night; I was treated as if I had always been there in both Tungurahua and El Chaco and never as a stranger. The Farmer to Farmer program is a wonderful opportunity and I would recommend any one with an attitude of service or volunteerism with…knowledge in agriculture give it a chance.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dairy Processing in Nicaragua

Farmer to Farmer volunteers Geoff Benson and John Rushing pose with the owners and some employees of the Lacteos Nicarao Cooperativa in Rivas. At this processing facility they make traditional cheeses from local milk.
Farmer to Farmer volunteers, Geoff Benson and John Rushing traveled to Nicaragua in August to provide support to the dairy industry. Often times FTF volunteers have complimentary skills and qualifications so they travel in teams and work together. In this case, Geoff Benson, an agricultural economist and marketing specialist and John Rushing, a food safety specialist, were able to provide assistance to dairy cooperatives and processing plants in an integrated approach. Inevitably, the limitations of the processing equipment and the product quality effects a businesses ability to enter markets and increase sales. Dr. Benson and Dr. Rushing provided recommendations and gave trainings in business planning, marketing techniques, food processing and food safety.

Cheese Processing

Friday, August 20, 2010

Photos from the Field: A Volunteer in Action!

A view of shaded and well-kept rabbitries.

Farmer to Farmer volunteer, Robert Spencer, takes a moment to pose with some rabbits and their owners during his recent meat quality assignment in Haiti. Rabbit farming is an income generating activity and contributes to local food security. Rabbit meat is a healthy white meat that is low in cholesterol and has a high percentage of protein. Farmer to Farmer volunteers are supporting the rabbitries with assistance in rabbit nutrition and health, meat quality and business planning and sales.  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Successful Micro-Entrepreneurs in Haiti

This photo shows the three most successful rabbit producers in Grand Boulage, Haiti. They are proudly showing their new record books that they are using to keep track of their rabbits’ breeding, fertility and mortality rates, and other important information to make sure that rabbits are produced in a way that maintains healthy animals and also produces the best offspring.

On the left is Madame Andremene, the most successful producer. She did experience a significant setback recently, having lost around 83 offspring to what was later determined to be a diet that was not well balanced after consulting with FTF volunteers Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak, Brian Rude, and Steven Lukefahr. Now she has adjusted the diets, especially of the young rabbits, to include avocados and other foods high in energy and protein. She is more determined than ever.

In the middle is Mr. “Racine” Cadeau, and pictured below is one of his prize male rabbits in a new rabbitry structure supplied through small grant money via Dr. Kaplan-Pasternak. Also pictured below are some of his young rabbits eating nutritious food. Mr. Cadeau is heeding the volunteers’ advice about rabbit nutrition.

On the right is Madame Delicame. Though illiterate, she is proud of her record book and receives help in recordkeeping from the other producers. She has been very successful and is planning to use the money from her rabbit sales to learn to read and write. Makouti Agro Enterprise has already helped to arrange a teacher to come to the village to teach her.

These are just a few examples of the many success stories that I have seen since I arrived in Haiti late last week. Great job Haiti team!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Farmer to Farmer T-Shirts for Sale!

New!  Buy your Farmer to Farmer Program T-shirt for just $15!

Shirts are 100% Cotton and come in sizes M, L, XL and XXL.  Price includes shipping and handling (in the US; international shipping may be extra).  Email for more information and to order your shirt today!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Farmer to Farmer supports local NGOs with Environmental Projects

The Farmer to Farmer Program assists local nongovernmental organizations across Latin America and the Caribbean with technical and institutional support. Most recently, Farmer to Farmer volunteer, Dave Lombardo worked with an organization in the Dominican Republic, Sur Futuro Foundation, to help them improve their administration of natural resource management and forestry projects in an ecologically and legally sound manner. Sur Futuro is working with local communities to improve education and increase development capabilities while promoting environmental protection with the sustainable use of natural resources. Mr. Lombardo supported Sur Futuro with the implementation and enhancement of their sustainable forestry management initiative in the areas of Padre Las Casas and Sabana de San Juan. The volunteer trained personnel from Sur Futuro on the establishment of survival monitoring studies for tree plantings and reforestation and guidelines for sustainable timber production.
Sur Futuro technician, Milton, measures a tree as part of the forest monitoring plan.

Area under Sur Futuro's natural resource management projects.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

From the Archives: Reforestation in Guatemala

Circa 2003, these photos are from a Farmer to Farmer trip taken by Alabama volunteers Ken Tilt and Hayes Jackson to Guatemala to provide followup training on a reforestation/Christmas tree production assignment carried out in 1999. In Partners of the Americas' network of chapters, Alabama is partnered with Guatemala.

To see if there is a Chapter in your area, click here to view Partners' Chapter directory.