Farmer to Farmer Program: Building Agricultural Sector Competitiveness in East Africa

NAAE is partnering with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), which is the lead organization, on a Farmer to Farmer (F2F) Program supporting East Africa.

This new five-year program promoting sustainable economic growth, food security and agricultural development in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania sends U.S. volunteers with agricultural expertise to share skills and help build capacity for African farmers through short-term training and technical assistance projects.

Volunteer technical assistance from U.S. farmers, educators, agribusinesses, cooperatives, and universities helps developing countries improve productivity, access new markets, and conserve environmental and natural resources. F2F volunteers work with farmers, producer groups, rural businesses, and service providers to develop the 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 U.S. foreign assistance programs, and private involvement in development activities.

Learn more by visiting the Farmer-to-Farmer website at farmertofarmer.crs.org

What types of assignments are available?

Assignments are created based on both need and the skill set of the volunteer. The first step is getting registered in the Farmer-to-Farmer system, then CRS will be able to match your skills with a need and create an assignment. There are also some pre-determined assignments available. Visit http://farmertofarmer.crs.org/assignment/ to read currently available assignments.

How long is a typical assignment?

Since assignments are based on the need of the host country and skill set of the volunteer, assignment lengths are flexible. A typical assignment is generally about 2-3 weeks.

When would I have to go?

Farmer to Farmer can work with the volunteer and host country to determine the best time for the volunteer service to take place.

How do I volunteer?

Visit farmertofarmer.crs.org to learn more about the program, and click the “volunteer” link at the top of the page.  You can choose to either apply for a currently available assignment or register in the database to be contacted for upcoming assignments that match your skills.

Program Reach

As a new implementer of the 28 year old Farmer to Farmer Program, CRS will send US volunteers to almost 500 project assignments over the 5-year life of the project, to increase the productivity and marketing of key priority value chains, including livestock and grains, in line with USAID's Feed the Future initiative. The program will benefit at least 350 host organizations, and train over 19,000 people, more than half of whom will be women. CRS has been in east Africa since 1965 and sees women as a growth engine for agriculture in the region.

U.S. Partners

CRS is partnering with five U.S. institutions to enhance their reach into America's diverse agriculture sector to recruit volunteers:

  • National Association of Agricultural Educators
  • Foods Resource Bank
  • National Catholic Rural Life Conference
  • American Agri-Women
  • University of Illinois, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Economics

About CRS

Established in 1943, CRS is engaged in humanitarian relief and development efforts in nearly 100 countries worldwide. CRS works with partner organizations, strengthening their capacity to respond to emergencies, fight disease and poverty, nurture peaceful and just societies, and promote human development. Although their mission is rooted in the Catholic faith, their operations serve people based solely on need, regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity.

CRS' Approach

CRS has extensive experience in promoting sustainable economic growth, food security, and agricultural development worldwide. CRS' agricultural programs focus on:

  • Resilience — CRS promotes prosperous and resilient agricultural livelihoods, market-based recovery, and developing farmer skill sets to improve productivity and diversity, including value chains.

  • Capacity Building — CRS strengthens competitiveness in existing commercial value chains for specific commodities and helps protect development advances against the many shocks and stresses farmers face around the world.

  • Gender — CRS promotes the genuine participation of women, supporting more just and equitable livelihoods as well as other needs of female farmers.

  • Civil Society — CRS cultivates strong relationships across civil society and public and private sectors to "connect the dots" across a myriad of stakeholders — from local civil society partners and governments to small-scale farmers and international businesses.

CRS supports rural families in their bid to attain food security, achieve incremental gains in prosperity, and engage more effectively in markets through three stages:

  • Recover (Assets) — A market-oriented approach to post-disaster recovery and subsequent development of integrated sustainable seed systems for smallholders.

  • Build (Skills) — An integrated approach to skills development that enables smallholder farmers to engage successfully with markets.

  • Grow (Services) — A toolkit that facilitates and brokers the inclusion of organized smallholder farmers in value chains that connects them with modern markets.

Additional Resources

 

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