Friday, September 28, 2012

Taking It to the Next Level: Honduran Farmers Begin Shift from Subsistence to Commercialization

Howard Fenton, Accountant with University of Wisconsin - Cooperative Extension, will be wrapping up his 2-week flexible volunteer assignment in Honduras this weekend. Since arriving in Tegucigalpa on September 15th, Howard has been working with Sustainable Harvest Honduras (FUCOHSO) to provide training in basic accounting and record-keeping to approximately 100 of FUCOHSO's participating families.

FUCOHSO's goal is to help families from Honduras' rural farming communities overcome poverty while at the same time conserving the region's natural resources. A number of families who have been part of the program for a while are now shifting from subsistence farming to income generating activities. As they begin to form cooperatives and make a move toward comercialization, it is necessary for them to develop basic business skills for managing their enterprises. This is a need that Howard has been addressing through his trainings in basic accounting and record-keeping.

The following updates, sent by Howard to Farmer to Farmer Headquarters in Washington, DC, provide a glimpse into the successes that have been achieved so far.

Thursday, September 20th:
The farmers are actively participating and discussing amongst themselves as we work through the exercises, and they express their appreciation for a recordkeeping system they can use for their farming operations and in their homes (quite a few women have attended the workshops and they participate as well as the men ' I love it!).
Friday, September 21st:
We had our best day yet today in Santa Ana, Santa Barbara. The workshop was well attended (including two women who participated more than some of the men), and the crop we used for an example (beans) allowed us to touch on some topics (loans and rents) not covered in previous days.

I cannot tell you what an experience this has been. It is going so much better than I ever anticipated. The farmers are so eager to learn and keep focused for the whole time. (Workshops have typically been lasting at least 5 hours not including lunch.) I certainly appreciate the opportunity.

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