Thursday, April 29, 2010

Farmer to Farmer featured in El Ganadero - Nicaragua

Farmer to Farmer Program Director, Peggy Carlson, was featured in the April 2010 edition of EL GANADERO magazine. The article describes the important agreement signed between CONAGAN (The Cattleman's Association of Nicaragua) and The Farmer to Farmer Program. Photos of 3 Farmer to Farmer volunteers in action were also featured.

Farmer to Farmer Volunteer Vance Haugen talks about the benefits of implementing biodigestor systems to maximize waste on dairy farms.
Farmer to Farmer Volunteer Joshua Peissig reads the dial on a milk processing machine to ensure equipment safety and quality.
Farmer to Farmer Volunteer Kshinte Brathwaite discussed the importance of dairy products for a balanced diet and adequate nutrition.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Difference FTF Makes: in Gallons of Honey

Volunteers usually spend an intensive period preparing for and carrying out a Farmer to Farmer assignment, but unless they return periodically it is difficult to see the progress over time and the greater sum of the assistance provided. Here is a snapshot update on Nicodeme Pierre, one of the most successful beekeepers that Partners' Farmer to Farmer Program has been working with over the years.

(Photo: Working in the hive, Nicodeme Pierre removes a frame full of honey. Photo taken by Justin Hackworth) 

Our best improved beekeeper in 2009 (Nicodème Pierre, in Caracol Poisson, northern of Haiti) harvested 175 gallons of honey (36 hives) . In 2008 he harvested [only] 17 gallons from 16 hives. Not only did he increase colonies but also honey. Certainly, we have more than one improved beekeeper.

-reported from Benito Jasmin, Haiti FTF Coordinator

Nicodeme also appeared in a May 2009 article of the American Bee Journal ("Haiti: a Struggling Nation with Determined Beekeepers"), as authored by FTF volunteer Todd Jameson after he, David Westervelt, and Doug Corbin completed their FTF assignments in Haiti in partnership with FAVACA.

Thanks to all our many beekeepers who have worked with us and with the beekeepers in Haiti. And if you would like to return, please contact us as we have many open assignments in beekeeping! Benito wants to see you in Haiti soon.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Las Lagunas Abajo, Padre Las Casas - Greenhouse Production

This week I have been visiting a variety of greenhouses in the Dominican Republic with two Monitoring and Evaluation Specialists to assess the program and identify areas of future needs. The greenhouse in Las Lagunas Abajo, Padre Las Casas planted their first crop of bell peppers with the help and recommendations of two Farmer to Farmer horticulture volunteers, Kristin and Brian Krokowski on January 18, 2010. The three women that own and manage the greenhouse recently sold their first round of peppers at a high price because of the good quality pepper. The women are now getting ready to harvest the next batch of peppers and are working on securing a permanent buyer. They were grateful for the assistance that the Krokowski’s provided and look forward to many more Farmer to Farmer volunteer visits.
Farmer to Farmer Program beneficiary, Maria Carmen del Vicente, discusses her bell pepper crops with volunteer, Kerry Zaleski, and SurFuturo extension worker, Franklin Ferredras.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Update on Earthquake Relief from Haiti Chapter of Partners of the Americas

Wondering what Partners is doing in Haiti lately?
Read an update on our website, a recent report from Partners' Haiti Chapter. The report describes the Chapter's most recent post-disaster efforts, as well as a special initiative under the Farmer to Farmer Program which sent a team of post-trauma counselors to Haiti. Two of the 3 counselors were Kellogg Fellows with Partners in past years. Thanks to all members of the Haiti Chapter for your voluntary efforts to improve living conditions for those most affected by the earthquake.

Also, we are happy to announce that regular Haiti FTF program activities will resume in May with 2 volunteers in rabbit production and meat quality assurance to travel soon.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Farmer to Farmer Humor

"Bowl of Bunnies"

Sometimes we get some photos from FTF staff or volunteers that are really humorous. It's hard not to share the cheer. Below is a recent favorite among Partners' FTF Team. Photo credits go to Peggy Carlson. The picture was taken a few weeks ago in Haiti, after FTF and Makouti Agro Enterprise delivered some new rabbits to producers.
Stay tuned... perhaps in the future we will post some more new favorites.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hauraruni Friendly Farmers Society - Shadehouse Production

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.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Honey Production in Haiti

Farmer to Farmer volunteer, Conrad Berube, recently had his beekeeping work from Haiti featured in the American Bee Journal. Congrats Conrad and thanks for your dedication to the Farmer to Farmer program! To access the article:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Update on Grand Boulage, Haiti

The Farmer to Farmer Program recently posted an update to the "Feeding Families" Global Giving project webpage. The project focuses on providing inputs such as seeds, rabbits, goats, and seedlings to compliment the training provided by Farmer to Farmer volunteers in the mountain village of Grand Boulage. This project is carried out in collaboration with the Friends of Haiti of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Hats off to our volunteers who have provided training recently in this community: Myriam, John, Emily, and Mike.
Check it out here!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Supporting the Nicaraguan Dairy Sector

An article featured in El Nuevo Diario (a major Nicaraguan newspaper) on March 30, 2010 reinforces the importance of dairy farming to the Nicaraguan economy. Additionally, the article highlights the crucial agreement that was signed between CONAGAN (the National Cattleman's Association) and the Farmer to Farmer program. This collaboration further demonstrates the Farmer to Farmer programs' dedication to the dairy value chain in Nicaragua. Please click here for a link to the article.