Three small grant projects from the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) Farmer-to-Farmer Special Program Support Project (SPSP) recently wrapped up their projects, with achievements beyond their targets. Between the three programs a total of 30 volunteers were fielded and completed 495 volunteer days.
The three projects to conclude were:
- Building Capacity in Sustainable Agricultural Research, Extension and Education for the Women Farmers in South Asia implemented by Tennessee State University
- Improving the Sustainability of Malian Sheep and Goat Farming implemented by Browse and Grass Growers Cooperative
- Farmer-to-Farmer project in Zambia implemented by NCBA CLUSA
Tennessee State University (TSU)’s project, Building Capacity in Sustainable Agricultural Research, Extension and Education for the Women Farmers in South Asia, main objective was to provide technical assistance and building capacity in sustainable vegetable cultivation to women’s groups, extension agents, faculty and small-scale farmers in Bangladesh. Ten volunteer experts in their respective fields were able to disseminate information that enhances adoption of new and improved farming practices such as tomato grafting and addressing soil borne diseases through training workshops, factsheets and a website in collaboration with hosts Bangladesh Agriculture University (BAU) and CARITAS Bangladesh, a nongovernmental organization. An estimated 2,671 farm family members benefited from this project as 742 farmers were directly assisted and 725 farmers received training. Pictured: Dr. Muamba with Professor Dr. Md. Abdul Momen Miah and Subrato Kumar Kuri conducting a practical session with the farmers on sustainable home gardening during Farmer to Farmer (F2F) training.
The ten expert volunteers who worked on this project were able to achieve the following results:
- Demonstrated sustainable, environmental friendly and safe production of organic vegetables to farmers, extension agents, and faculty
- Enhanced capacity of two host organizations and collaborated/assisted four NGOs and institutions in organic vegetable production
- Trained beneficiaries in organic farming and long term approach for sustainable production of vegetables
- Disseminated technology of vegetable grafting for increased tomato production to address soil borne diseases such as bacterial wilt to 64 farmers
- Shared knowledge of decomposition and formation of organic manures to 120 farmers
The goal of Browse and Grass Growers Cooperative’s Improving the Sustainability of Malian Sheep and Goat Farming was to enhance the quality of life for farmers and their families through information, training, and cost-effective implementation of sustainable small ruminant (sheep and goat) production, management, and marketing practices. The program beneficiaries were small-holder, low-resource, cooperative members, potential members, and their families, including youth, single and widowed women, farmers with disabilities, and students attending agricultural schools. The hosts were smallholder, low-resource, farmer cooperatives, and agro-pastoral institutes in the Koulikoro, Sikasso, and Ségou regions of Mali, West Africa. Technical support, training, and resources were provided with a focus on integrating small ruminant production and nutritional needs with crops and browse (e.g., renewable, high protein, legume trees). A holistic management system was supported that combines best practice and humane livestock protocols with sustainable land management. Activities addressed by the volunteers included identification of opportunities to improve pastoral land use, application of feed supplementation strategies, and upgrading of healthcare, breeding, nutrition, and farm management practices. Overall, 16 hosts and 1,925 farmers directly benefited while 78 professionals and 1,611 small farmers were trained by the program. In addition, 3,000 high-protein forage, legume trees and ten breeding rams and bucks were donated to the community and several new partnerships were established including four new agro-pastoral schools and two private veterinary organizations. In total, the value of $190,040 in volunteers’ time was leveraged on the assignments. Pictured: Volunteer Moses planting legume sapling.
Volunteers in NCBA CLUSA’s Farmer-to-Farmer program in Zambia provided technical assistance to smallholder farmers on a wide range of topics impacting the peanut value chain, including aflatoxin reduction, soil fertility and soil management techniques, improved peanut seed production, value addition activities, and cooperative enterprise development and marketing. These volunteers traveled to the Chipata and Katete districts of Zambia’s Eastern Province to work with host organizations, share their expertise and best practices with the farmers, and make recommendations to the hosts and farmers on how to make improvements. The host organizations included the Chipata District Farmers Association (CDFA), Community Oriented Development Program (CODEP), Every Home for Christ (EHC), and Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO). Over the life of the project, volunteers trained 968 people, 59.6% of whom are women, benefitting 5,517 farm family members. Volunteers directly assisted 1,044 people, 59.4% of whom are women. The high numbers of women trained and women directly assisted are noteworthy given the host organizations’ male leadership. This is largely due to the fact that peanuts are traditionally produced by women in Zambia but also demonstrates the host organizations’ commitment to supporting all of their smallholder farmer members. NCBA CLUSA leveraged 167 volunteer days, worth $78,490 in volunteer time, and an additional $22,129 in resources was leveraged by the volunteers. Pictured: Alex Hansingo (far left) and CFC smallholder farmers proudly show off their first constructed universal nut sheller.