By: CNFA Farmer-to-Farmer Team
This article is a contribution to a four-week blog series celebrating 30 years of USAID’s John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program.
From November 16 – December 11, 2015, partners of the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program are sharing their knowledge and experience in providing volunteer technical assistance to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, service providers, and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries. Closely aligned with Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, the F2F Program works to support inclusive agriculture sector growth, facilitate private sector engagement in the agriculture sector, enhance development of local capacity, and promote climate-smart development. Targeted volunteer assignments address host-led priorities to expand economic growth in ways which increase incomes and improve access to nutritious food. This blog series aims to capture and share the experiences of hosts, volunteers, and program partners.
Bruce Williams owns Lakeside Farm Inc., a farming and timber business in Virginia and North Carolina, and is a veteran Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer who has worked with the program since 1995. He is also the President and owner of Agronomy and Horticulture Services, L.L.C., which leads pesticide safety recertification and training programs. Bruce recently sat down with CNFA’s F2F Country Director for Mozambique, Antonio Aljofre, to speak about the impact and future of the Farmer-to-Farmer program.
Bruce Williams: Hi Antonio, how are you? Glad to hear you are visiting stateside. Is this the first time you have been to Washington D.C.?
Antonio Aljofre: Yes, it’s my first time to U.S. It has been a great opportunity to meet our colleagues and see how things are moving here in the U.S.
BW: Oh wow, yes, it’s quite impressive up there to see all the museums. I hope you’re getting time to get around to see some of the sights.
AA: Yeah, well time has been very busy, but I have seen some incredible things so far. As you know, in Mozambique, you worked with very smallholder farmers. I was able to meet some smallholder farmers in the U.S., and they were totally different.
BW: Oh, yes, it’s a different world altogether.
AA: So let’s get started, how has your experience been volunteering with Farmer-to-Farmer? I know that you have been not just to Mozambique, but to Bolivia, Moldova, and Nepal, among others, and most recently completed an intensive pesticide assignment in Angola.
BW: Yeah, that was a lot of work but I enjoyed it. I learned a lot – it has been very beneficial because I get to learn new things, learn about new people. I almost feel guilty because I usually learn a lot more on these trips than what I give. I see all sorts of new insects and plant diseases, and I learn a lot about people and about culture. All of the assignments are fun, some of them are more work, but the common thread is that they are all interesting.