This article was originally published by the Wisconsin State Farmer.
BARRON - Tim Jergenson, UW-Extension Agricultural Agent for Barron County traveled to Tanzania for two weeks to share his technical skills and expertise with local farmers.
Jergensen’s assignment was part of Catholic Relief Services’ Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program that promotes economic growth, food security, and agricultural development in East Africa.
“When I left for Tanzania, I had little knowledge of what the country would be like. I found a country with a rich agricultural heritage and productive land that produces a variety of food that I have never seen before in a one small area.” said Jergenson.
Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the five-year program matches the technical assistance of U.S. farmers, agribusinesses, cooperatives, and universities to help farmers in developing countries improve agricultural productivity, access new markets, and increase their incomes.
While in Tanzania, Jergensen worked with CARITIS in training and giving technical assistance to Extension Field Staff, Extension Supervisors and Farm Community Volunteers to enable them to conduct better meetings and involve all of their farmer members.
In addition, to create meeting environments that provide better educational experiences, increase the active membership in the organization, and to become stronger leaders in their villages and broader communities. Up to 233 direct beneficiaries were reached.
Jergensen's volunteer assignment is one of nearly 500 assignments that focus on agriculture, food security and nutrition in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. This is the first time CRS has been involved in the 28-year-old Farmer-to-Farmer Program funded by the U.S. government.
CRS is partnering with five U.S. institutions to tap into the rich diversity of the U.S. agriculture community: the National Catholic Rural Life Conference, Foods Resource Bank, National Association of Agricultural Educators, American Agri-Women, and the University of Illinois’ College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.
The U.S. volunteers will travel to East Africa for anywhere from one to six weeks, their expenses covered by USAID.