Local soil scientist assists vegetable farmers in Mozambique

BRATTLEBORO — Drew Adam, long-time resident of Brattleboro and retired soil scientist from the Brattleboro USDA Field Office, traveled to Mozambique on Dec. 1 as a volunteer of the United States Agency for International Development-supported Farmer-to-Farmer program.

The John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program relies on the expertise of U.S. volunteers to provide technical assistance to farmers, farm groups and agribusinesses in developing countries to promote sustainable capacity building. Adam spent three weeks in Chimoio, Mozambique, just south of Gorongosa National Park with Culima Farmers Association, a group of 31 farmers, 12 female and 19 male, who grow vegetables and graze animals on about 1,000 acres of jointly owned land. During his three-week stay, Adam focused on assisting the farmers on basic principles of integrated farm management and crop budget calculations. Emphasis was placed on low- or no-cost conservation practices such as composting, crop rotation, integrated pest management, mulching for weed control and accurate record keeping of inputs and returns on crops sold.

"We appreciated Mr. Adam's low cost approach to improving our crop production," said Cacilda Salemente, vice president of Culima Association. "Our resources are limited and our margin of profit is very small."

In southern Africa, the Farmer-to-Farmer program is implemented by CNFA, an international development organization that specializes in enterprise-based agricultural development initiatives designed to facilitate market access, enhance agribusiness competitiveness and improve rural livelihoods in the developing world. CNFA manages the Farmer-to-Farmer program in Mozambique, Malawi, and Angola. For more information about the Farmer-to-Farmer Program or volunteer opportunities, visit www.cnfa.org.


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