Farmer to Farmer in Jamaica: Vegetable Project
Partners of the Americas’ Farmer to
Farmer program is a USAID-funded
project that provides technical assistance
to local agricultural producers, producer
organizations and agribusinesses in
Jamaica, Haiti and Guyana. Through the
program, US agricultural volunteers
spend two to three weeks working with
their counterparts in the Caribbean on a
specific technical assignment to address
local needs. Partners’ Jamaica program
focuses on vegetables, hot peppers, eggs
In Jamaica, Farmer to Farmer is working
on vegetable production with members of
the Santoy Farmers Cooperative and local extension agents. The members of Santoy grow a
variety of vegetables including zucchini, yellow squash, cabbage, peppers, dasheen, and melons.
The farmers have identified disease and pest control as their top priorities.
Farmer to Farmer Program works with Jamaican extension agents to improve the quality of
services offered to small farmers. Volunteers work with extension agents to develop materials
that are appropriate for farmers of
all education levels and economic
circumstances. Extension agents
have the opportunity to discuss the
latest research and techniques with
volunteers who are often well-
known experts in their field. With
advice from Farmer to Farmer
volunteers, extension agents
improve programs so as to best
serve the needs of small farmers. A
close relationship with extension
programs ensures that volunteers’
work will continue long after they
complete their assignments.
The Jamaican government and
others have raised concerns about
the use of pesticides. Volunteers have observed the improper use of pesticides raising health and
safety concerns. The government is also concerned about the environmental impact of pesticide
use on Jamaica’s fragile ecosystem and watersheds. The vegetable project aims to introduce
farmers to alternative means of pest control and improved production methods
In the first phase of the project, Farmer to Farmer
volunteers will help to address two key issue areas:
Integrated pest management volunteers will
assess existing pest problems and pest control
techniques for vegetables such as zucchini,
yellow squash and cabbage. The volunteers
will work with farmers, extension agents and
local chemical providers to implement safe and
environmentally sound means of pest control.
Plant pathologist volunteers will assess current
disease problems and control methods and
work with farmers and extension agents to
develop low-cost solutions.
In the future, there will opportunities for volunteers
in the areas of soil and irrigation management,
greenhouse construction and post-harvest handling.
Past volunteers have found the experience to be challenging and rewarding. Many develop
relationships with their counterparts in the Caribbean and make multiple trips to work on
different aspects of a project. Volunteers provide valuable technical assistance and their advice is
greatly appreciated by vegetable producers and extension agents. Through the Farmer to
Farmer program, individuals make a
meaningful contribution to
development in Jamaican communities.
We hope that you will be a part.
For more information on Partners of the
Americas and the Farmer to Farmer
Program, please visit www.partners.net.
For specific questions or to find out
about how to volunteer, you can also
contact: Peggy Carlson, Director,
Farmer to Farmer Program, Partners of
the Americas, 1424 K Street, NW,
Washington, DC 20005,