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USAID Farmer-to-Farmer Program in Trinidad and Tobago trains hundreds

The USAID John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program in Trinidad and Tobago, celebrated impacts and successes at a conference on May 10 – 11, 2023 at The University of West Indies – St. Augustine (UWI). The program has been implemented through a collaboration between UWI and Purdue University that began in April 2020.

For the past three years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded program provided technical assistance from U.S. volunteers to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, and other agriculture sector institutions in Trinidad & Tobago. Through this program, more than 750 people have been trained across a number of themes. The conference included cultural presentations by host groups and local program volunteers  as well as discussions about the program’s impact.

The F2F program was praised by the U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Her Excellency Candace A. Bond, as well as UWI Campus Registrar, Dawn-Marie De Four-Gill, who spoke on behalf of Pro Vice-Chancellor and Campus Principal, The University of the West Indies – St. Augustine, Professor Rose-Marie Belle Antoine. Country Director for F2F Trinidad and Tobago, Wayne Ganpat, and Associate Dean and Director of Purdue’s International Programs in Agriculture (IPIA), Gerald Shively, also delivered remarks at the recent conference.

“Farmer-to-Farmer has shown itself to be not only very effective, but also very timely. We are in an era of great uncertainty. The world is still in recovery from the pandemic, and still dealing with the fallout of the Russian-Ukraine war,” said De Four-Gill. “Inflation, although showing some signs of easing, still has impacted food prices globally. The Caribbean, perhaps like never before, has to examine and greatly improve our relationship with food, both as producers and consumers,” she added.

In her remarks, U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Bond told participants that the U.S. Government is committed to helping address food insecurity challenges in the region. She noted that the work being done through the F2F program is critical to strengthening the food system in Trinidad and Tobago and around the region.

dickson-ganpat-f2f-program
Amanda Dickson (left) and Wayne Ganpat (right).

“It has been exciting to see Trinbagonian farmers, extension agents and agro processors adapt and adopt new techniques, reach audiences in a different way  and create new products,” said Amanda Dickson, International Extension Specialist at Purdue and F2F Program Director for Trinidad and Tobago. “This is exactly what this demand-driven technical assistance is for. Farmers are implementing climate-smart techniques that address drought and excess rainfall, precision watering, using less pesticides in safer ways, and creating food products that are safer, nutritious, and meet food-allergy needs.”

The dual approach will empower farmers by providing them with an array of technical expertise. The specialized education has helped to enhance nutrition and health, increase food safety, add value to produce, marketing, help farmers respond to the changing environment, and address many other key challenges.

 

“The program’s achievements in Trinidad and Tobago are truly impressive,” said Shively, , “not only in terms of the valuable training and technical assistance provided, but also with respect to providing enhanced cultural awareness and understanding through volunteer exchanges, a goal that is at the heart of the Farmer-to-Farmer program.”

 

For more information about the Farmer-to-Farmer program in Trinidad and Tobago visit HERE

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