The World Food Prize Foundation

April 2014

Innovation and Collaboration: Farmers Helping Farmers Succeed

In 2011 and 2012, twelve Iowa farmers volunteered to travel to Africa to help 180 women farmers in Uganda escape the cycle of poverty. While overseas, the Iowa farmers visited groups of Ugandan farmers and provided training on post-harvest handling of maize (corn), increasing soybean production through simple changes such as planting in rows, seed germination testing, improving farm record-keeping, and developing collective marketing strategies for increased profitability.

These trips were part of the “Bridging the Gap” partnership between Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods and VEDCO, a local Ugandan organization; and were funded by the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer grant program.

Ugandan farmers benefitted from the program by learning improved farming practices, teaching these practices to others in their communities, and by increasingly seeing themselves as successful businesswomen. The program benefitted Iowan farmers as well, primarily by providing them with the opportunity to meet and be of service to Ugandan farmers, but also by expanding their vision of farming in a globalized world. Over 95% of the Ugandan farmers who were surveyed said that the “Bridging the Gap” program was a significant benefit to their families. Read more about the impacts of the program here.

“As a return volunteer for the program, I saw amazing things happening. The farmers wanted to learn from their American friends. The improved varieties are helping them successfully grow soybeans. The children are thriving with a high protein nutritional source. The farmers are being creative and resourceful by direct marketing and using value-added sales of soybean products, like party cakes, baby formula, porridge mix, and fresh roasted as a snack.”

Lori Lang, Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer

While the “Bridging the Gap” program has ended, Iowa farmers are still needed to volunteer their time and expertise with smallholder farmers around the world. A new, five-year partnership between Catholic Relief Services and Foods Resource Bank is currently searching for Iowa farmers and others with agricultural expertise to share their skills with farmers in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

To submit your application please visit the CRS Farmer to Farmer website. Email Kelsey Day for more information about the Catholic Relief Services – Foods Resource Bank partnership.

For more information on Iowa State University’s “Bridging the Gap” program, email Linda Naeve or read more online.

Photo Credit: Farmers at a learning day in Uganda

Innovation and Collaboration: Farmers Helping Farmers Succeed

In 2011 and 2012, twelve Iowa farmers volunteered to travel to Africa to help 180 women farmers in Uganda escape the cycle of poverty. While overseas, the Iowa farmers visited groups of Ugandan farmers and provided training on post-harvest handling of maize (corn), increasing soybean production through simple changes such as planting in rows, seed germination testing, improving farm record-keeping, and developing collective marketing strategies for increased profitability.

These trips were part of the “Bridging the Gap” partnership between Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods and VEDCO, a local Ugandan organization; and were funded by the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer grant program.

Ugandan farmers benefitted from the program by learning improved farming practices, teaching these practices to others in their communities, and by increasingly seeing themselves as successful businesswomen. The program benefitted Iowan farmers as well, primarily by providing them with the opportunity to meet and be of service to Ugandan farmers, but also by expanding their vision of farming in a globalized world. Over 95% of the Ugandan farmers who were surveyed said that the “Bridging the Gap” program was a significant benefit to their families. Read more about the impacts of the program here.

“As a return volunteer for the program, I saw amazing things happening. The farmers wanted to learn from their American friends. The improved varieties are helping them successfully grow soybeans. The children are thriving with a high protein nutritional source. The farmers are being creative and resourceful by direct marketing and using value-added sales of soybean products, like party cakes, baby formula, porridge mix, and fresh roasted as a snack.”

Lori Lang, Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer

While the “Bridging the Gap” program has ended, Iowa farmers are still needed to volunteer their time and expertise with smallholder farmers around the world. A new, five-year partnership between Catholic Relief Services and Foods Resource Bank is currently searching for Iowa farmers and others with agricultural expertise to share their skills with farmers in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

To submit your application please visit the CRS Farmer to Farmer website. Email Kelsey Day for more information about the Catholic Relief Services – Foods Resource Bank partnership.

For more information on Iowa State University’s “Bridging the Gap” program, email Linda Naeve or read more online.

Photo Credit: Farmers at a learning day in Uganda

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