Farmer-to-Farmer in Southern Africa & Moldova Program Pairs with Young Africa in Mozambique
Recent volunteer assignments in Mozambique with the USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program, implemented by Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), have fostered a budding relationship with Young Africa, an NGO that operates training centers for youth across Southern Africa.
Young Africa’s innovative, high-impact solutions to tackle youth unemployment across the continent with a focus on vocational training and entrepreneurship makes them an ideal partner for F2F, particularly as they provide hands-on agriculture training at their Young Africa Agri-Tech (YAAT) center in Dondo, Mozambique. In July 2020, CNFA visited YAAT to develop two volunteer assignments focused on dairy farm management and soil improvement.
To provide expertise on dairy farm management, CNFA selected John Tryon, a New York-based dairy farmer, for a virtual assignment in January 2021. Tryon assessed and offered recommendations to strengthen Young Africa’s herd management practices and milk production. Tryon’s expertise provided insights on herd health and milk production, and YAAT used them to achieve its milk production goal of 15 liters per day, per cow, up from the average 8 liters per day, per cow. One exemplary cow produced 20 liters of milk in a single day!
Tryon reflected positively on his partnership with the YAAT team, describing their commitment to their herd’s health.
“YAAT managers had the desire to improve their dairy herd,” he explained, “Implementing the suggested recommendations led to increased production and long-term health and increased body condition.”
In February 2021, CNFA and YAAT rolled out another virtual assignment, this time using the paired assignment model, virtually connecting Montana-based volunteer Wayne Burleson, and recipient of the 2017 Volunteer of the Year award, with Mozambique-based volunteer Vengai Rufu. The duo trained 108 YAAT students, including 55 women, on organic fertilizer production. The volunteers also provided recommendations to improve long-term soil health, noting the importance of avoiding uncontrolled burning of vegetation and using natural resources rich in organic matter, such as dry or rotted vegetables, wood ash, black soil, and manure for organic fertilizer production.
With the combined efforts of Burleson and Rufu, the training allowed each participant to practice producing high-quality organic fertilizer. The two volunteers are conducting a follow-up program to monitor crop yields using these new methods.
The F2F Program and YAAT have begun to craft a new volunteer assignment that will train over 80 youth on integrated pest management techniques and plan to continue cultivating their relationship as COVID-19 safety measures ease.