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Purdue IPIA to administer capacity-building program in Trinidad and Tobago

Purdue University’s International Programs in Agriculture (IPIA) and Purdue Cooperative Extension Service will administer and manage the USAID John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program implemented by Purdue University in Trinidad and Tobago over the next three years.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded program, F2F provides technical assistance from U.S. volunteers to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries.

The Purdue F2F program, in collaboration with the University of West Indies – St. Augustine (UWI), proposes a dual approach to build capacity for the public and private extension community and empowers farmers by providing them with an array of technical expertise. This expertise will help enhance nutrition and health, increase food safety, protect the environment by promoting proper handling and disposal of agriculture chemicals, add value to produce and marketing, help farmers respond to the changing environment and address many other challenges.

The program facilitates the technical assistance trainings by U.S.-based academics, graduate students, Extension experts, business professionals, and farmers to the host country, in this case Trinidad and Tobago. These volunteers develop hands-on trainings to improve food and nutrition security through increased productivity, safety, and profitability while strengthening the Extension service through capacity building.

“The Purdue F2F program focuses on identifying the needs within Trinidad and Tobago’s extension system and agricultural industry and finding volunteers that are willing to travel on a two- to four-week technical assignment to help address those needs,” said Amanda Dickson, international extension specialist for IPIA.

“We have three missions here in the College of Agriculture: learning, discovery, and engagement,” said Kashchandra Raghothama, associate director of IPIA. “This really hones in on the engagement component. Purdue is increasing its engagement worldwide and IPIA is proud to play a crucial role in that.”

The Purdue team brings documented experience in executing complex international projects, including F2F programs across the globe. This is IPIA’s fourth time managing a F2F program, having previously administered the program in Ethiopia, Costa Rica and Colombia. The Colombian project, which ended in 2017, focused on helping farmers in a rural, mountainous region increase the yield and nutritional value of their crops.

“In Trinidad and Tobago, we are starting from a position of strength. We already have a good working relationship with UWI, and the Ministry of Agriculture and they have a mandate to revitalize their Extension system,” Raghothama said.

Dickson and Raghothama added that Purdue Extension faculty and staff are some of the most capable in the country and they are eager to draw from the pool of expertise within the college and outside of it to participate in this F2F project.

Project organizers are looking to fill volunteer assignments. People interested in learning more about the program or becoming a volunteer with the new Purdue Farmer-to-Farmer project in Trinidad and Tobago can contact Amanda Dickson at dicksona@purdue.edu.

The Trinidad Moruga scorpion (Capsicum chinense) is a chili pepper native to the district of Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago. It currently is ranked as the second-spiciest chili in the world. (Courtesy photo) The Trinidad Moruga scorpion (Capsicum chinense) is a chili pepper native to the district of Moruga in Trinidad and Tobago. It currently is ranked as the second-spiciest chili in the world. (Courtesy photo)

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