Thursday, March 25, 2010

Follow a FTF volunteer around the DR!

Farmer to Farmer volunteer, Rhett Farrell, is currently in the Dominican Republic and he is posting updates and photos on his blog: Please visit Rhett's blog to see the work he is doing with avocado farmers and greenhouse associations to improve their business management skills and to assist them in accurately calculating their costs of production. The volunteer is providing trainings to farmers and associations on measuring costs, accounting methods, micro-credit assessments and the valuation of production resources. With this information the farmers and associations will be able to make better decisions about future financial investments, production plans, and alternative markets. To learn more about Rhett's work in the Dominican Republic please visit his blog.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Update from Julie, a former FtF Intern

Hello FtF Community!!! Glad to see and hear that everything is running smoothly with the FtF program, especially after the devastation in Haiti. As many of you know, I worked as an intern this past summer with FtF as a part of the Chevy Chase Leadership Internship Program at the University of Maryland. Part of this program was an alternative spring break trip to Uganda which I just got back from this past Saturday. While in Uganda, I worked with a local community group to plant over 20 trees and work on three water wells which will be used to collect and store water saving the families from having to walk miles to collect water. I had the most amazing time there working on these projects, interacting with the local Ugandans, forming stronger relationships with other UMD students and staying with the most amazing host family ever (I even wore a traditional Ugandan outfit to a community dinner). It was truly a life changing experience and reinforced the importance of the work that Partners and FtF does. Please enjoy some of the pictures...recognize the hat??

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Update from the Field

Ronald Blandon, Farmer to Farmer Country Director in Nicaragua, presented at the National Dairy Forum in Camoapa, Nicaragua on March 17, 2010. Ronald gave an overview of the Partners of the Americas Farmer to Farmer program and then went into details of the dairy sector in Nicaragua. The dairy value chain was explained with graphics and photos and the levels of technical assistance that FTF is providing at each component of the value chain. Two beneficiaries of the program, Miguel and Lesvy Burgos (father and son) explained how their daily milk production per cow has increased from 7 liters to 9 liters since the visit of one FTF volunteer in November. The volunteer, John Cockrell, recommended a better method for including mineral supplements into the diets of dairy cattle. Previously, the farmers used to put the mineral supplements in just a single feeding trough on one side of the corral area. Cockrell suggested that they put the mineral supplements on the top of the feed and in each feeding trough. The cattle are not use to eating the supplements so many were not bothering to eat it when it was off to the side. Pouring it on top of the feed was an excellent recommendation because it then mixes with their own feed. The cattle don't realize the supplement was added, and all the cattle consume it because they are hungry for their regular food. This small change of including mineral supplements into the cattle feed provided beneficial to the cattle and to the farmers. An increase in production led to an increase in financial returns for Miguel and Lesvy Burgos and they are looking forward to working further with FTF volunteers and to continuously improve their livelihoods.

Pictured above: Miguel Burgos spreading the mineral supplements in the feeding troughs.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Donations Matched Today - Haiti "Feeding Families" Project

Today and today only, Global Giving is matching donations made to Partners' "Feeding Families" project in Haiti. Donations up to $1,000 will be matched at 30%. This project helps fund seeds, animals, trees, tools, and training to support the mountain community Grand Boulage, and surrounding communities, grow food to feed themselves and to sell for income. They are making progress, recently having sold their first batch of rabbits to another community! If you would like to make a donation, today is the day to do it. Thanks to all our donors for their support, and a new update will be posted to the site soon. Click here to check out the site.

This project is carried out in coordination with the Friends of Haiti of Green Bay, WI, and several FTF volunteers including Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak.