Friday, October 8, 2010

Some Outcomes of Farmer to Farmer Assistance

What difference does the Farmer to Farmer Program make? Below are just a few outcomes of Partners of the Americas' FTF Program from this year. Thank you to all the volunteers and partners who have contributed to these successes!

And remember, a little can go a long way. For example, in Haiti the difference between a child going to school and not going to school is only $50/year in school fees, which is out of reach for the majority of families. Our Haitian staff report that 74% of improved rabbit producers working with FTF are able to send their children to school.

Volunteer Trevor Hylton discusses butternut squash packaging with Hauraruni FFS Chairman and Packaging Facilities Manager
Before FTF assistance, the Hauraruni Friendly Farmers Society was limited to agricultural production of some vegetables and beans only in shadehouses and for local markets because of the very sandy soils in the area. With drip irrigation technology and training, they now have the capacity to produce higher-value field crops destined for niche markets.The farmers have cultivated a ten acre plot and have recently begun harvesting their first crop of butternut squash, which is being packaged at the Guyana Marketing Corporation Packaging Facility for export.

Volunteer Mark Kopecky discusses forages in Nicaragua
19 farms implemented improved pasture management systems and they were able to increase the amount of feed available to their cattle. As a result, milk production increased by 25%, from 3 liters to 3.75 liters per cow, per day.

With the assistance of Farmer to Farmer, milk quality is improving. The producers have changed their practices and are better controlling mastitis, managing the hygiene and timing of the milk process. This improvement of quality allows for producers to receive $0.28/liter compared to $0.25/liter previously.

 Dominican Republic
Volunteer Ben Faber demonstrates tree pruning in the DR
FTF volunteers provided hands-on training to more than 60 avocado, mango and pineapple producers and extension technicians, including training in avocado tree pruning. By pruning, the farmers train the trees so there are no low-hanging, horizontal limbs or branches that permit fruit to contact the soil, causing scarring damage and contamination with fungi. The producers believe there has been a 30% decrease in pests and diseases since Farmer to Farmer has been providing assistance.

Beekeeper Oles Basille (right) proudly shows off a gallon of his honey with FTF Country Coordinator Benito Jasmin
One beekeeper has begun including a portion of the comb in his honey jars since he now produces beautiful natural comb. As a result he has expanded his sales to a venue in Port au Prince. Demand is high, and he has bought 6 more acres of land. With a local carpenter, he has built 14 more hives.

Commercial rabbit production units (30-50 does) have increased from 1 to 10; Family commercial rabbit production units (avg. 12-16 does) have increased from 0 to 20; and Individual rabbit production units with 4-6 does have increased from 24 to 1090 and those with 2 does have increased from 7 to 600.

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