Tuesday, January 24, 2012

First FTF Queen Raising Training in Haiti

Farmer to Farmer volunteer Ed Levi, a beekeeping specialist from Arkansas, is currently in Haiti conducting trainings in queen bee breeding. This is the first training on this important topic under the Farmer to Farmer Program, and likely the first strategic training on this topic in the country. Ed is collaborating with Haiti's Makouti Agro Enterprise as well as the Ministry of Agriculture and other beekeeping associations. Selective breeding of Haitian queen bees holds the potential to improve the overall genetics of the honeybees in Haiti, and selecting for desirable traits will lead to increased productivity and income for beekeepers. Below are some pictures from Haiti.
Mr. Levi conducts a training on development of young bees

Nicodeme Pierre, one of Haiti's most accomplished beekeepers, conducts his first grafting of queen cells (North Haiti)

Mr. Levi working in the hives, together with Haitian beekeepers, in the Port au Prince Area

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

University of Wisconsin Extension Agents Continue their Commitment to Nicaragua

UWEX Agents working with Nicaraguan farmers on silage bags that will used during the dry season
 University of Wisconsin Extension (UWEX) Agriculture Agents, Otto Wiegand and Vance Haugen and John Cockrell, retired UWEX Ag Agent, volunteered to work as a team in Nicaragua from November 27 to December 11, 2011 on a dairy project for Partners of the Americas' Farmer to Farmer (FtF) program.

Wiegand focused on farm financials and forages, Haugen on silage-making and biogas production, and Cockrell on mineral supplementation and also on silage-making. On their farm visits, the team also covered farm and pasture management. The team worked with staff and producers of the San Francisco de Asis and Masiguito Cooperatives in Camoapa, the Lacteos Cooperative in Rivas, and visited farmer members of cooperatives based in Boaco and San Jose de los Remates.

Vance Haugen and John Cockrell had previously volunteered in Nicaragua with Partners of the America's Farmer to Farmer program. Otto Wiegand is a veteran Farmer to Farmer volunteer having participated in five assignments with both Partners of the Americas and other Farmer to Farmer implementing organizations. He has participated for the past three consecutive years with FTF Nicaragua. In a recent interview by his local newspaper "The Spooneradvocate", Wiegand shared "I like Nicaragua. I am getting familiar with the country, and I understand the culture fairly well, and I speak Spanish" (3A).

The team made 11 farm visits on nine mixed dairy and beef farms. They gave technical advice at all of the farms and developed recommendations. Feed intake and availability is a major constraint for dairy cattle in most parts of Nicaragua during the dry season that extends from December to May. Silage and hay can be used to provide forages during this period. The team made five silage bags (about 1 ton each) on four farms and examined three anaerobic digesters. Silage bags were provided to a number of neighboring farmers who came to observe and help make silage. Farmer to Farmer, Field Officer, Daniel Ingram has constructed a half-dozen digesters on farms from designs and materials left by Haugen. Bio-gas produced with manure from simple bio-digesters can harvest un-utilized energy that can be used for cooking and heating water for cleaning that provides extremely valuable in these remote areas of the country.

University of Wisconsin Extension agents have volunteered in Nicaragua on a number of assignments focusing on milk quality, tree forages, biogas, silage and pasture management. The team noted the extent of progress in several areas since they first visited on Farmer to Farmer projects in 2001-02 and 2009-10. Some of those improvements are more bag silos or bio-digesters used by farmers.  There has been an increase in varieties and quality of forages used for cut-and-carry. More farmers are using small forage grinders to make daily green chop from cut-and-carry. Road conditions have also improved substantially. Export and internal markets for dairy and beef are steadily improving and continue to exceed supply, noting that there is a great opportunity to sell increased production.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

McLeod, Correll Team Up with CIAT to Expand Vegetable Production in Eastern Bolivia

Correll and McLeod work with a local vegetable producer in her garden
Last month, Doctors Paul McLeod and Jim Correll of the University of Arkansas teamed up with support staff from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) to expand and improve vegetable production in the lowlands of eastern Bolivia. This trip was a follow-up assignment for McLeod and Correll, who visited rural towns in Magdalena, Santa Cruz and Beni in 2010 to provide vegetable seed to interested potential producers. During this follow-up, the volunteers visited individual households in the same rural towns to check for progress in vegetable growth, provide additional seed and tools, and offer instruction on insect and disease identification and management. McLeod and Correll also identified seed sources in Santa Cruz and developed a method for sending seed into the more remote eastern lowlands.

A family of producers receives vegetable seed

McLeod and Correll reported general progress in vegetable production in the towns visited. In various households in Magdalena, they observed many new vegetable gardens that did not exist the previous year. The villagers were successfully producing onions, several peppers, sweet corn, several cucurbits, lettuce, beans and cowpea. In Bella Vista, few vegetable gardens were observed, however this was an improvement upon the previous year when no gardens were observed. Further, with the help of Hugo Serrate, Executive Direct of CIAT, McLeod and Correll located numerous stores selling vegetable seed, garden tools, chemicals, fertilizers and irrigation supplies. Together they identified a trucking company to deliver the seed and supplies to the Beni area and areas north of Santa Cruz.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Young Farmer in St. Kitts Makes Progress in Agriculture

Levine sells his produce at the Farmers Market
Photographed above is Levine, a young farmer from St. Kitts who benefited from some FTF trainings in collaboration with the local Community Achievers Project (CAP). Due to his involvement with CAP, he has beaten the odds that many young people face on the island and has recently graduated from high school, as well as beginning to sell his produce at the local farmers market every Saturday. Congratulations to Levine for his success!

CAP manages youth development projects in St. Kitts and Nevis. Partners of the Americas' Farmer to Farmer Program continues to collaborate with the CAP to help young people develop productive, income-generating opportunities through agriculture.