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Ugandan farmers to share experiences with American counterparts

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Ugandan farmers to share experiences with American counterparts

American soy farmer Ron Heck showing visitng journalists how he harvests the crop using a Combine

The U.S. Mission in Uganda has announced a program that connects Ugandan farmers with their counterparts in the United States and other parts of the world.

The Mission through its Agency for International Development (USAID), and sesame value chains.

Farmer-to-Farmer is 28-year-old flagship USAID program that transforms agricultural sector development through volunteer assistance targeted at small farmers, agribusinesses and associations, and support services enterprises. This is the first time CRS is partnering with the Farmer-to-Farmer Program. This partnership is a five-year program to include nearly 500 volunteer assignments in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda.

“The program will use the expertise of U.S. farmers, to help impoverished communities that we serve in this part of Africa,” said Bruce White, director for the program. Volunteers will spend two to four weeks in Uganda, focusing their efforts on agriculture, food security, and nutrition.

“One thing we are certain of is that this program will be beneficial not just to the farmers in East Africa, but also to the volunteers from America,” White said. “It’s going to make the world a little bit smaller for everyone involved.”

In his remarks, USAID Deputy Director Mark Meassick noted: “The ambitious but achievable goal of the Farmer-to-Farmer program is to improve the livelihoods and nutritional status of 10,000 low-income households. Since the program initiation, over 12,000 volunteer assignments have been completed in over 80 countries; and so far, approximately 43% of all individuals trained by Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers are women.”

Agriculture is central to the Ugandan economy, accounting for more than 48 percent of exports, and 73 percent of employment. From 2011- 2016, the United States will invest over $150 million on agriculture and nutrition related activities that support the implementation Uganda’s Agricultural Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP).

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