Elizabeth City, NC – Dr. Felix Buabeng, program coordinator/instructor of the Agribusiness Technology program at College of The Albemarle (COA), had the unique opportunity to participate in the Farmer-to-Farmer program, established by the U.S. Agency of International Development (USAID), over the college’s winter break.
From the USAID website, the John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer program “provides technical assistance from highly-skilled U.S. volunteers to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, service providers and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries. The program’s goal is to promote sustainable improvements in both food security and agricultural production, processing and marketing.” Interested candidates apply through the website and applications go through a selection process. Dr. Buabeng had first heard of the Farmer-to-Farmer program through a faculty member at his previous academic institution and this was his first time participating.
Dr. Buabeng was assigned to Tajikistan, Central Asia, for three weeks. His assignment, “Vegetable Production: Technology transfer related to Greenhouse Vegetable production management,” was to communicate and offer technical advice to local high tunnel vegetable growers on the basics of vegetable growing technology, addressing issues including soil testing, pest and disease control, heating and humidity control, growing technology, soil sterilization and fumigation, nursery care and seed selection.
the ability to offer my services to the global community, and the
opportunity to apply my experience and education to enhance rural
agricultural food systems, was the central piece of this volunteering
assignment,” explained Dr. Buabeng. “The trip also offered me the
opportunity to experience other cultures. I learned different native
sustainable techniques used in food production which will be useful
in enhancing my students’ concepts of sustainability whilst
experimenting it. A presentation will be made to my students this
semester to share with them a global perspective about the culture
and food systems in Tajikistan.”
Caption: Dr. Felix Buabeng examines tomatoes in a greenhouse in Tajikistan while volunteering for the USAID Farmer-to-Farmer production.