Thursday, October 10, 2013

Got Milk? Nicaragua’s Dairy Producers show Substantial Improvements as a Result of F2F Program

As the current Farmer to Farmer (F2F) program cycle comes to a close, F2F staff are taking a look back at the impacts volunteer visits have had on agriculture and food security in Latin America and the Caribbean over the past five years.  In Nicaragua, volunteer expertise has been concentrated in dairy and horticulture – two agricultural industries that make up a large portion of the country’s economy.  Two farmers from the dairy-producing region of Camoapa, Boaco who have worked with several F2F volunteers over the course of the program and, as a result, have shown impressive improvements in production and nutrition on their farms are Josefa Miranda and Edmundo Robleto.

Josefa Miranda is a female dairy farmer who has been working with F2F since January of 2010.  Two of her main objectives when beginning her collaboration with F2F were to improve fodder used as livestock feed and increase milk production on her farm.  Several F2F volunteers worked one-on-one with Josefa and her son over the course of nearly four years, providing technical assistance to improve livestock practices such as rotational grazing, decreasing pasture size, providing mineral supplements, and keeping a registry of farm activities.  She also learned how to test for mastitis – a bacterial condition that causes inflammation of the udder and lowers milk quality – which has allowed her to identify sick cows and treat them accordingly.  Josefa now produces greater quantities of more nutritious fodder and has a healthier, more productive herd.
Dairy Producer Josefa Miranda and family members
Dr. Edmundo Robleto, Camoapa’s newly-elected mayor, has also been working with F2F for almost four years.  His goals when starting the program were to improve livestock nutrition, genetics, and milk production.  With volunteer help, Dr. Robleto has introduced new species of fodder on his farm and is better able to store it, providing more nutritious food year-round for pregnant and milk-producing cows.  He also crossed a new bovine race with his herd to improve genetics that affect production levels and the animal’s adaptability to varying climatic conditions.  Dr. Robleto's main objectives while working with the program have been met, and with his newfound status as mayor, he can now more easily disseminate this knowledge to other producers in the community, producing a domino effect of improved dairy production for the region at-large.

Dr. Edmundo Robleto and his wife

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