Community-Based Agribusiness in DR

The community of La Rosa in the Dominican Republic suffered from electric and water shortages, and a lack of investment in their farmers and community members. Despite their hardships, a group of active, engaged community leaders wanted to create successful community-based cooperative businesses.
Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Volunteer Brian Foster came to help the La Rosa community make their plans a reality. He developed and presented a series of business planning workshops in the community to explain agribusiness concepts and the business planning process.
The workshops were organized and facilitated by staff from F2F and the Dominican NGO “Servicio Para La Paz” (Service for Peace). Currently, Servicio Para La Paz is undertaking a water supply project in several communities that plans to eventually supply potable water directly to households. Four workshops were conducted based on the organization of community-based businesses in: 1) cacao production and chocolate products; 2) agroforestry …

Organic Peanut Farming in Jamaica

When Desmond Mortley heard about the opportunity to train farmers in Jamaica in organic peanut farming, he was ecstatic. He saw growth on the horizon for organic crop production in Jamaica. The professor of organic agriculture at Tuskegee University was sent to Jamaica for two weeks as a Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) volunteer in August of 2019, knowing that Jamaica had a very high potential for organic peanut production and that his work with women’s farmer groups there could help them tap into that potential.

Over the course of his assignment, Desmond trained 20 farmers at the Middleton Women’s Farmers Group and Ujima National Farmers Market the “dos and don’ts” of organic peanut production and gave them recommendations on how to improve their farming practices to improve yields.
As an expert in vegetable crop production and with experience in organic farming, Desmond recommended that the farmers at Middleton and Ujima do a few things to make their peanut harvests better. He saw that farmers…

Soil Health and Conservation in the DR

Natural is best unless necessary when it comes to farming, according to Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer Eli Gottfried. Luckily for him, farmers in Las Rosas, the Dominican Republic are dedicated to the principles of soil conservation and a more natural approach to farming.
Gottfried trained the farmers of Las Rosas in July 2019 on three areas: soil conservation, crops for each environmental situation, and composting methods. He visited 10 sites and reviewed the soil to see if they were able to produce specific crops. Gottfried also gave three workshops in the community on soil health and conservation.

The community of Las Rosas is located between two mountain ranges with sandy clay soil. This environment yields crops such as cacao, banana, coffee, peas, beans, cassava, sweet potatoes, and mangoes.

Gottfried appreciated that the farmers he met already had soil conservation techniques implemented and with a lot of natural methods. These practices can help maintain a balance of microorganisms, …

Land Management with Phoenix Enterprises in Guyana

Guyana possesses immense potential for agricultural and economic expansion within and beyond its coast, according to Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer Dr. Walter J Zimmerman. During Summer 2019, Dr. Zimmerman provided his expertise in soil fertility, soil conservation, and climate-smart agriculture to help Phoenix Enterprises develop more efficient land management practices in the country. Located on a 10-acre farm outside of Georgetown, Guyana, Phoenix Enterprises is a developing micro-enterprise for bottled coconut water. Dr. Zimmerman provided recommendations for the company after performing an observational survey and learning about on-site plans and methodologies. Additionally, he led two workshops, the first with a group of local farmers and the second with agronomists at the National Agricultural Research & Extension Institute (NAREI).

Agriculture in Guyana is one of the pre-eminent sectors of the economy, accounting for about 1/3 of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 30…

Cold Storage for Peaches: Dr. Abdel-Rahman

During the low season in Guatemala, growers have often struggled to sell their deciduous fruit, especially peaches. Their short shelf life can cause a disadvantage in the market.
Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Rahman volunteered with Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Guatemala to help solve this problem. He worked with the organization, La AsociaciĆ³n Nacional de Productores de Frutales Deciduos (ANAPDE) to extend the marketing season for their peaches by cold storage and a modified atmosphere.
ANAPDE farmers and technicians wanted to learn techniques involved in handling these products and also understand the physiological features of the fruit as it matures and before it is served as food to best ensure that it is picked, processed, and stored to best preserve its quality.
To do so, Dr. Abdel-Rahman provided training on the post-harvest of horticultural crops and peach maturity and ripening. He taught farmers, technical personnel responsible for collection and storage centers, and extension agents in charge …

Queen Bee Breeding in the DR

At the beginning of August, queen bee breeder Shaana Way traveled to the Dominican Republic to teach queen rearing to Dominican beekeepers and farmers. She consulted with ASOAPIFRODA (AsociaciĆ³n de Apicultores La Fronteriza de Dajabon), a bee association near the border with Haiti that collectively manages over three thousand hives, and BANELINO, an organic banana cooperative that is expanding its program to include beekeeping opportunities for banana growers. Both groups had stated interest in learning to raise queen honeybees to expand their apiaries and improve their colony sustainability.

Raising queen honeybees is a powerful tool to grow hive numbers and select for the most advantageous genetics for the beekeeper’s local climate. Other traits that can be selected include bee temperament, productivity, disease resistance, and hygienic behavior. The industry standard of queen production, called grafting, involves moving a larva from a colony the beekeeper selects and placing the lar…

Yogi Super Foods: Innovations in Digital Marketing

Kath Lestina Volunteer Assignment with Farmer to Farmer Guatemala and YSF
Marco Barbi left a successful business in Spain in 2008 because he was not in harmony with a newly discovered spiritual journey. He wanted to align his new values with his professional life and give back to the community in a positive way. After moving to Guatemala, he found that opportunity with Yogi Super Foods (YSF). Since no one was selling Kombucha in Antigua at the time, Marco started preparing it at home and soon he had enough to share with his friends, who responded positively. With this encouragement, he decided to develop recipes and packaging to produce Kombucha. In 2014, as his popularity grew in Antigua, Marco expanded to Guatemala City, hiring people and securing all the licenses and product registration needed to establish his business. Yogi Super Foods now has over 40 products, which provide customers with essential nutrients for the body and include aninspiring message on the package to nourish …

F2F Volunteer Featured on Guyana This Week in Agriculture

Partners of the Americas Farmer-to-Farmer program volunteer, Nathan, was featured on the Guyana This Week in Agriculture! Nathan shared his honeybee expertise over a two-week assignment in Guyana. During his time there he met with local cooperatives, businesses, and beekeepers and lead training as a part of his volunteer assignment. Nathan was welcomed by the community, Guyana Field Staff Team, and greatly enjoyed his Farmer-to-Farmer program experience.

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Since 1991, Partners of the Americas’ Farmer-to-Farmer Program has been transforming lives in over 30 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. Farmer-to-Farmer provides technical assistance from highly skilled U.S. volunteers to farmers, cooperatives, agribusinesses, extension services, and other agriculture sector institutions.

Ready to volunteer with Partners of the Americas? Our open opportunities are posted here:…

Combating Soil Erosion in the Dominican Republic

"You never get satisfied in your paid job at the extent you can get as a volunteer because your effort can bring smiles on the faces of needy people"
On April 28, 2019, Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Volunteer Ram Ray, Research Scientist of Praire View A&M University in Texas, traveled to the Dominican Republic (DR) to work with three unique communities that are facing serious issues with soil erosion, flooding, and landslides.  Although this is his second assignment with F2F (his first F2F assignment was in India), this is his first time visiting the beautiful country of the Dominican Republic.

When he landed in Santo Domingo, he enjoyed seeing the coastal city similar to his current hometown of Houston, Texas. Originally from Nepal, he was surprised to find a similar topography and terrain in the DR. 
The overall objective of his F2F volunteer assignment was to increase the resilience of the vulnerable populations on the impacts of climate change and weather patterns. With a s…

Watershed Work in the Dominican Republic: Fondo Agua Yaque del Norte

Since it's founding in 2015, the Yaque del Norte River Basin (YNRB), Fondo Agua Yaque del Norte,  has been working to promote the conservation and restoration of the watershed of the Yaque del Norte River, Rio Yaque del Norte, the most important river in the Dominican Republic. Their work consists of increasing and managing their financial trust that finances their organization and provides funding to watershed-focused groups in the region. The Yaque del Norte River Basin also includes an educational and promotional arm known as the Development Association, Association para el Dessarollo Inc

Kent Reid, Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Volunteer, traveled to the Dominican Republic in May 2019 on assignment to work and review overall operating activities with the YNW Fund. This was Kent's second F2F assignment with the YNW Fund, having worked with the Development Association partner, ISA University, in October.

The two main goals of the F2F assignment were to review the strategic goals …