ColombiaFarmer-to-Farmer Program

NMSU/ACES Office of Global Agricultural Initiatives is accepting applications for a two-week expense-paid volunteer assignment in Colombia working with our partner, University of La Salle, and our host organization, Salva Terra, to help strengthen small farmer organizations, linking them to research information to improve farm output, market access, and household incomes in post-conflict Colombia. The application and background check release form can be found here:
Agriculture in Colombia

Background

The Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program promotes sustainable economic growth, food security and agricultural development worldwide. Volunteer technical assistance from US farmers, agribusinesses, cooperatives, and universities helps developing countries improve productivity, access new markets, build local capacity, combat climate change and conserve environmental and natural resources.

F2F volunteers work with farmers, producer groups, rural businesses and service providers to develop local capacity necessary to increase food production and rural incomes, expand economic growth, and address environmental and natural resource management challenges. This people-to-people exchange promotes international goodwill, understanding of US foreign assistance programs and private involvement in development activities.

Please visit this website for more information on the Farmer-to-Farmer program

New Mexico State University (NMSU) College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) will implement the Colombia Agricultural Network Development Opportunity Farmer-to-Farmer project (F2F Can Do) in Colombia under the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance's (VEGA) Special Program Support Project (SPSP). The focus of the F2F Can Do project is to strengthen the delivery of technical agricultural research information to small-plot producers in post-conflict Colombia. Simultaneously, the F2F Can Do project will give U.S. agricultural, extension and rural development volunteers the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise through this strategic development tool. NMSU's partner in this project is the La Salle University of Colombia.

Opportunity

NMSU/ACES Office of Global Agricultural Initiatives is accepting applications for a two-week expense-paid volunteer assignment in Colombia working with our partner, University of La Salle, and our host organization, Salva Terra, to help strengthen small farmer organizations, linking them to research information to improve farm output, market access, and household incomes in post-conflict Colombia.

What kind of volunteers should apply?

If you have experience in agricultural extension, farmer organizations, agricultural education, small-plot farming, small-herd/flock production, post-harvest management, marketing perishable products, or other agricultural expertise, please contact the NMSU ACES Farmer-to-Farmer Can Do coordinator to submit your application F2F coordinator.

What about the language?

Spanish is the official and working language of Colombia. It would serve the all the volunteers well to be able to communicate in Spanish. Each U.S. volunteer will be assisted by Colombian graduates of La Salle University's Utopia project that prepares them for a career in extension. Some of these graduates have basic command of English and could assist with elementary communication for the volunteers. Also, as needed, translation between English and Spanish may be provided during structured training sessions that will be led by you, the U.S. volunteer.

Why should you go to Colombia?

You will have the opportunity to demonstrate your communication skills with people whom you probably have not had the chance to interact. This experience will enable you to share your expert knowledge and experience in agriculture with communities that previously had no way to get fresh and relevant, fact-based information about growing crops, raising livestock or marketing their commodities. Your contribution in Colombia will be part of the building blocks for a stronger agricultural economy that will help make for a more peaceful and stable partner in South America. And you, the volunteer, will undoubtedly come home with a renewed vision and appreciation of the power and impact of sharing your part of the American agricultural experience.

When would you go to Colombia?

The program will be ready to accept applications in November 2017. Assignments are expected to begin in January 2018 after the necessary background checks, administrative procedures and briefings are successfully completed. The latest assignment possible is June 2018.

What can you expect?

Prior to your departure to Colombia, you will get a thorough briefing at NMSU on working and living in Colombia, the project, our partners, and the impact you will have on the people you meet. Your safety and security are paramount. You will get a comprehensive safety and security briefing that will include what you will need to know to have the best possible experience in country.

Your two-week experience in Colombia will begin in Bogota with our partner, University of La Salle. You will get an intensive briefing on Colombia in the modern era after the signing of the Peace Plan, what it means for rural Colombians and how La Salle and its agricultural university, Utopia, are addressing the needs to push agricultural know-how out to small-plot farmers. Many of these farmers and livestock producers have been isolated from modern technology, research, and innovation; however, the new era of peace is opening up these parts of the country and agricultural researchers, like those at La Salle and Utopia are aggressively preparing extension specialists, agronomists and animal scientists to work in these areas.

Colombias agriculture

Your area of assignment

After your orientation in Bogota, you will partner with a graduate from Utopia (the La Salle agricultural university) and head to Medellin to meet up with our host organization, Salva Terra. Our host is currently active in working directly with small-farmer organizations and disseminating technical information aimed at improving wellbeing in post-conflict Colombia. From Medellin, you will head to the departments (states) of Bolivar and Sucre. To get there, you will fly to Cartagena and drive about two hours to your destination; travel arrangements will be made for you and you will be accompanied by your co-researcher from Utopia, as well as with representatives from Salva Terra. Lodging will be in modest local accommodations near your work sites. Travel to and from the work sites will be provided and, again, you will be accompanied by your Utopia co-researcher.

Working with others in the field

Colombia has several active and professional non-governmental organizations (NGO) that are committed to improving livelihoods in the fragile parts of the country. NMSU ACES and La Salle have teamed up with an exceptional NGO, Salva Terra, to take advantage of the synergies of local networks, local research and international experience. Salva Terra, in turn, has partnered with Fundacion Nutresa, Grupo Exito and others to leverage their for-profit market presence across Colombia that could be an outlet for the production of the small farmers. By teaming with these Salva Terra and its associated commercial partners, you will be able to more quickly reach larger groups of farmers, livestock producers and their families.

Your impact

Measuring your impact is a vital part of your mission to Colombia. As such, you, your co-researcher, and the NGO will take note of who attends your workshops, whom you meet for one-on-one or small group consultation and training, how many people you contact, and how many recommendations you make (and what you recommend).

Safety and Security Policy

You will receive thorough pre-departure briefings on safety and security in Colombia from faculty and staff who have lived and worked in Colombia. Briefing material will be provided to the all F2F volunteers in advance of their departure on in-country travel, health, personal safety, environmental and natural hazards, and accommodations.

Additionally, you will get copies of the latest threat assessments in Colombia, along with web-based links with updated information.

The F2F volunteers will follow the safety and security protocol for international travel by NMSU faculty and staff. To be able to complete these forms you will need to demonstrate that you have familiarity with the travel safety and security policies of the university, as well as familiarity with the current situation in Colombia.

F2F volunteers will have a second orientation briefing upon arrival in Colombia, presented by the partner institution. This will be standard procedure for all F2F volunteers under this NMSU project.

NMSU will notify the U.S. Embassy (American Citizen Services unit) of the F2F project, the participants' names, and expected travel / location dates (adequate enough for informational purposes but avoiding unnecessary details that could compromise the travelers).

Returning F2F volunteers will be asked to provide input into the preparatory materials that they received prior to making their trips to Colombia; this feedback will be used to improve the quality of briefings for the subsequent F2F volunteers.

Rod McSherry
Cell: 202-386-8367
Email: f2f@nmsu.edu

Luz Urquijo-Hawkes
Cell: 575-649-8258
Email: f2f@nmsu.edu