Friday, July 1, 2016

The Power of Partnership: Volunteer Success in Guyana

Veteran F2F Volunteer James Garner conducts field assessments
with smallholder farmers in Guyana.
A unique element to Partners of the Americas’ Farmer-to-Farmer program is the focus we place on partnership to achieve broad and lasting community change. From focused project strategies to cutting-edge monitoring and evaluation techniques, we aim to ensure that the impact of F2F lasts beyond immediate volunteer activities. 

F2F volunteer Dr. James Garner, former Director of the Department of Agriculture and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB), traveled to Guyana with Partners for the first time in 1997. After that initial trip, he traveled more than 22 times with Partners F2F Program to assist in the improvement of sweet potato and cassava production practices, among other topics. For the Friendship Farmers Land Cooperative Society, this was a welcome partnership, as producers found it difficult to coordinate improved product quality with higher prices. As a result of Garner’s assistance through the F2F program, cassava production increased 60% and sweet potato production 80% from the start of the project. In 2012, Dr. Garner secured funding from UAPB to return to Guyana with a graduate student to conduct research on weed control in sweet potato production and follow up on his previous assignments. 

In the years since our F2F program ended in Guyana in 2013, Dr. Garner has pooled resources to connect UAPB even further with the National Agricultural Research and Extension Institute (NAREI) at the University of Guyana to improve sweet potato cultivation practices. A new, long term partnership project is now being funded by the US Department of Agriculture in collaboration with Guyana’s Ministry of Agriculture. Partners’ local Guyana chapter is also involved in the project, adding another layer of sustainability. Not only does it aim to improve horticultural quality of sweet potatoes, but the project will train local scientists in specialized propagation techniques to create a sweet potato seed program. This work complements NAREI’s trial program with sprinkler irrigation systems to increase sweet potato yields throughout the country.

Dr. Garner consults with sweet potato producers on
developing a set of best cultivation practices.
Check out this article featured in Guyana national news for more details on the project.

We recruit volunteers that are passionate about their work in agriculture and eager to share their expertise by cultivating meaningful partnerships. Ultimately, it is the commitment of host organizations and undying volunteer support that turn F2F assistance into long lasting change and projects like this one.

To learn more about how F2F facilitates partnership, find out how one volunteer worked with our EducaFuturo program and the US Department of Labor to reduce child labor and make Panamanian communities more food secure!

No comments:

Post a Comment