What We Do / Volunteering with Farmer-to-Farmer

The USAID-funded Partners of the Americas Farmer-to-Farmer Program in the Caribbean Region provides technical assistance to individual farmers, farmer associations, agricultural cooperatives, education institutions, and others in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, as well as select other countries.  Farmer-to-Farmer recruits experienced agriculturalists who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents to complete short-term assignments (15 day minimum stay; trips are generally 2-3 weeks).  In exchange for volunteers' time, Farmer-to-Farmer covers all assignment-related expenses.  Volunteers may travel individually or in teams.

The 2013-2018 Farmer-to-Farmer Program is currently accepting resumes or CVs from individuals with expertise in variety of program areas. To apply for the volunteer listings below, please send your resume to Orli Handmaker. Some current open assignments include:

HAITI

Coffee Soil Analyst (2015: 2 weeks)
The purpose of this assignment is 1) to help coffee cooperatives and farmers understand the relationships between soil and coffee quality, and the relationship between soil and the sustainability of coffee trees on the plantations and 2) to inform best practices of coffee production, working in partnership to evaluate current practices and suggest areas for improvement. The volunteer(s) will assist farmers in testing soil characteristics such as acidity, fertility, etc. and their implications for coffee quality. Volunteer(s) should have experience in soil research/management and knowledge of the relationship between soil characteristics and coffee production.  

Coffee Harvesting Educator ( 2015: 2 - 3 weeks)
The volunteer(s) will work alongside an in-country team to train coffee producers on best harvesting processes and help them develop outreach/education tools to disseminate the information to other farmers throughout the country. The purpose of this assignment is to help farmers and local organizations understand why it is crucial to harvest coffee beans at a particular ripeness and how this is correlated to economic profit. This will also help coffee cooperatives in pricing the coffee they receive from producers and help producers improve harvesting practices.

Coffee Branding and Marketing Strategist (2015: 2 - 3 weeks)
The volunteer(s) will work with 2-3 coffee cooperatives to develop their strategic branding and marketing plans. The purpose of this assignment is to create new strategies to reach potential markets and buyers both within Haiti and also internationally. The volunteer should have experience in agribusiness development and/or strategic planning and will be expected to produce a draft of a formal branding and marketing plan with action steps and work plans for each cooperative before departing the country.  

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Bilingual climate change expert (July – August 2015: 2-3 weeks)
A climate change specialist, or team of specialists, who can identify the main impacts of climate change on the agricultural and forestry sector in the DR and who can develop mitigation and adaptation strategies at the farm, community, and municipality level is needed to conduct presentations and trainings on climate change and its impact with new strategic partners of the Farmer-to-Farmer program. Upon raising awareness of the need for producers to adapt to the effects of climate change, the volunteer will then provide recommendations on climate-smart agricultural technologies or techniques that the producers can adopt in order to increase their resilience to climate change. Strong proficiency in Spanish is required.

Water Quality and Wastewater Management Specialist (July – August 2015: 2 weeks)
A volunteer with experience in conducting water quality assessments and treatment at fruit packing centers, with particular experience with banana packing, is needed to measure the physical, biological, and chemical parameters of water quality at several banana packing houses. The volunteer will train banana producers at small packing houses on improved practices and methods to improve water quality and wastewater management.

Agroforestry and protected areas management specialist (July – September 2015: 2-3 weeks)
A volunteer with experience in forest management and restoration of protected areas, developing land use plans for forest protected areas, and training rural farmers and technicians is needed to assess the forestry sector in the Yaque del Norte watershed in Jarabacoa and identify appropriate technologies and practices for managing and protecting forested areas. The volunteer will also assist in the planning, development, and implementation of a forest management and protection plan in the Yaque Del Norte Watershed, and train producers and technicians in best practices of forest protected areas. A strong proficiency in Spanish is preferred but not required.

Greenhouse production expert (July – November 2015: 2 weeks)
A volunteer with extensive experience and knowledge of greenhouse production and management of vegetables is needed to evaluate current greenhouse practices of growers and recommend improvements that can be made both locally and throughout the greenhouse industry. The volunteer will also assess the need for future specialists to assist greenhouse cluster members in improving the management and effective use of their greenhouses. Knowledge of Spanish helpful but not required.

Solid waste management specialist (July – November 2015: 2 weeks)
A specialist with experience in developing and conducting educational programs for students and teachers on solid waste management is needed to train faculty at ISA University to develop and implement solid waste management programs and manage plans for recycling solid waste that is produced at the university. The trained faculty will then pass this knowledge on to the students. It is very important that the volunteer has experience training beneficiaries in practical activities that can be carried out, as well as assess the amount of waste produced in the different areas in the campus.

Plastic waste processing and recycling specialist (September – October 2015: 2 weeks)
A specialist in plastic processing and recycling with experience in economic alternatives for plastic is needed to assist banana producers in exploring recycling, reuse, and plastic management alternatives for the plastic used in the banana industry. The volunteer will assist the banana producers in evaluating the cost of compressing the plastic at collection centers, purchasing machinery for compression, and evaluating other alternatives for the plastic.

Irrigation technology experts for banana production, Dominican Republic (July – December 2015: 2-3 weeks):
Partners is looking for 1-2 specialists in irrigation technologies to train agricultural extension agents, technicians, and banana producers in irrigation systems that will improve water efficiency. The volunteer is expected to assess the current irrigation systems and provide training and technical assistance to resolve problems of water efficiency.

Organizational development specialist (July – August 2015: 2 weeks)
A specialist on capacity development and organizational strengthening is needed to train approximately 80 greenhouse producers in skills to improve their organizational management and business development. Trainings will also focus on skills in problem solving, negotiation, teamwork, and other topics as identified by the volunteer and host.

Soil conservation specialist with experience in building live/dead barriers (July – November 2015: 2 weeks)
A specialist in soil conservation is needed to train hillside smallholder farmers on local plants and resources that can be used as live/dead barriers to reduce soil erosion and increase the organic matter in soils. The volunteer will provide hands-on training and recommendations on how to plant these barriers, as well as any other appropriate methods and techniques for soil conservation.

GUATEMALA

Project developer and grant writer (July – November 2015: 2-3 weeks)
A volunteer with experience in grant writing is needed to train leaders of local NGOs of the western highlands in methods and strategies to develop project proposals in order to access national and international funding for smallholder farmers. The volunteer will lead workshops on grant writing, developing workplans, and other topics on organizational development, as needed.

Marketing expert with experience with exportations (July –August 2015: 2-3 weeks)
A volunteer with experience in marketing, commercialization, and using market analyses to inform decisions (particularly for artisanal products) is needed to conduct a “train the trainer” workshop for technical and administrative support staff of SOSEP, a government entity created to promote and implement social programs that provide vulnerable populations. The workshop will be on accessing export markets, procedures and policies related to exporting, and methods to assist a micro, small, or medium-sized enterprises take steps in improving the quality of artisanal products

Marketing expert (July - September 2015: 2-3 weeks)
An expert in the food industry with extensive knowledge in the industrialization and processing of products is needed to train farmers on best management practices and to design a marketing strategy. Knowledge of product diversification, packaging, product presentation, setting expiration dates, and nutritional content of products is also desired. Please note this assignment focuses on the development of a marketing strategy for peanuts and hibiscus. However, while experience with these products is desired, it is not required.

Coffee marketing expert (July – October 2015: 2 weeks)
An expert with experience or knowledge of the coffee industry is needed to assist a small coffee federation with designing a marketing strategy. The federation has received previous F2F assistance on labeling and branding of their coffee products, but is interested in a follow-up assignment on other strategies, techniques, and opportunities to access new local, national, and international markets.

Artisan coffee processing expert (August 2015: 2-3 weeks)
An expert in in-situ processing of artisanal and aromatic coffee is needed to train Guatemalan cooperative members in techniques to add value to their coffee. The volunteer must also have experience in the use or construction of equipment for artisanal coffee to share with the host prior to the assignment. Expected deliverables are to assist with the development of an artisan coffee processing system and an illustrated manual on artisanal coffee processing.

Potato seed production specialist (July-September 2015: 2-3 weeks):
A volunteer with experience in potato cultivation and the production of seed potatoes is needed to train producers in a course on processes to gain certification of seed potatoes. The volunteer will be expected to develop a manual on the process of seed potato production that is adapted to the conditions of Guatemala, particularly the western highlands. Knowledge of the physiology of tubers during storage and infrastructure designs to store seed potato tubers is also desired.

Data and marketing expert (July – September 2015: 2-3 weeks)
A volunteer with experience in data entry and management is needed to assist a small business in developing a digital data management system and training beneficiaries in data entry, organization, and management so that they can track product sales. By gaining these skills, the business will be able to maintain better records of accounts and sales. The company currently uses Excel bt is hoping to build the capacity to better use this tool.

Marketing expert (July – September 2015: 2-3 weeks)
A volunteer with experience in marketing and marketing strategies is needed to assist a small business in designing a marketing strategy in order to raise the visibility of a small business. The volunteer will also assist the business in strategies to best display products on stands at local, national, and international fairs, as well as train sellers in sales strategies, negotiation, and other marketing topics of interest.

Expert on genetic varieties and rootstock deciduous crops (October-November 2015: 2-4 weeks):
A volunteer is needed with knowledge of new and improved varieties of deciduous fruit that are adaptable to the ecological conditions of Guatemala. The volunteer will train technicians and farmers ANAPDE on methods and techniques of plant breeding to increase production and quality of agricultural products per unit area in little time and with minimal effort and cost. Training should provide information on increasing efficiency of crops by teaching the absorption of nutrients, uses of water, fertilizer and tolerance of certain environmental factors that tend to control extreme fluctuations in yields.

Agronomist, Expert in proper handling of pesticides (October-November 2015: 2-4 weeks):
A volunteer is needed with knowledge of agro meteorology and management of agricultural production issues that are caused by weather and climatic variations (late frost and hail). The volunteer should be knowledgeable of economic analysis, techniques and active methods to reduce damage from late frosts and hail in crops. The volunteer would need to train technicians and farmers on freeze protection, temperature prediction and weather modification methods. The volunteer will also participate in the analysis; discussion and formulation of proposals on macroeconomic policy or foreign trade relate to each other, with tariffs, quotas, markets and regulations that directly or indirectly affect the production of deciduous fruits in the country.

Fito expert in breeding varieties of rootstock crop (August-October 2015: 2-4 weeks):
A volunteer is needed who can explain techniques for better post-harvesting handling. The volunteer will train technicians and farmers on methods, related technologies and procedures used in harvesting, processing and storage of fruits and pests. The volunteer should be knowledgeable in techniques involving the handling of these products and be able to provide useful information to all those who have responsibility for the management of these agricultural products.

GMPs Expert for Natural Juice Production (August-September 2015: 2-4 weeks)
A volunteer food engineering expert with experience in the application of good manufacturing practices (GMPs), HACCP regulations, food safety, and product shelf life is needed to assist a business in improving their production practices of natural fruit and vegetable juices. Experience working with small groups in rural areas is also desired. The goal of the assignment is to increase the technical capacity of producers and processors on the subject of GMPs and HACCP regulations in order to improve the production of products such as vegetable and natural juices. The expected deliverables are a manual on GMPs for the production of natural drinks made from fruits and vegetables, a trip report, and recommendations for further work.

GAP Expert for Peas, Carrots, and Potatoes (October 2015-February 2016: 2-4 weeks)
An expert in the production and management of peas, carrots, and potatoes with experience in the implementation of good agricultural practices (GAPs) is needed. Experience working with groups in rural areas and training large groups of people in conventional and organic crop management is desired. The goal of the assignment is to increase the technical capacity of producers and processors on the subject of GAPs in the production and management of peas, carrots, and potatoes. The expected deliverables are a manual on GAPs for vegetable production to be used among producers, a trip report, and recommendations for further work.

Marketing Expert for FECCEG (August-November 2015: 2-3 weeks)
A volunteer marketing expert with extensive knowledge of the food industry with knowledge and skills related to packaging and product presentation is needed. The purpose of the assignment is to improve the agro-industrialization processes of products, to improve product quality and producer productivity, to meet current and future demand and harness the productive potential of the raw materials locally, to participate in formal markets, to increase labor supply and to improve the economy of the families and the community. The expected deliverables of the assignment are a guide to proper labeling of finished products, a new brand design, an operational manual, a trip report, and recommendations for further work.

Data and Marketing Expert for DIDART (August-September 2015: 2-3 weeks)
A volunteer is needed with knowledge and experience in the following: marketing and marketing strategies in international trade, accounts payable, excel data entry and management, and conducting trainings in improved organizational skills. The purpose of this assignment is to assist DIDART (Didacticas Artesanales, or Artisanal Didactics) in developing a digital data management system and training beneficiaries in data entry, organization, and management so that they can track product sales. By gaining these skills, DIDART will be able to maintain better records of accounts and sales. The expected deliverables for this assignment are to have trained DIDART members in data entry and management and in tools and techniques to maintain better records of accounts and sales. Additionally, a trip report and recommendations for further work are expected upon completion of the assignment.

NICARAGUA

Qualitative Research Specialist (August-September 2015: 2-3 weeks)
The purpose of this assignment is to fully understand why there is limited consumption of dairy products in Nicaragua. Based on preliminary findings from previous F2F assignments, factors limiting dairy consumption may include: limited understanding of nutritional benefits, price/limited purchasing power, limited dairy availability in schools and remote areas, and quality concerns. The volunteer will conduct qualitative research throughout the country to better understand the reasons why dairy consumption is so low. He/She will then create a written report and PowerPoint presentation that details the findings and present them to key stakeholders in the Nicaraguan dairy value chain. This information will be used to continue developing the national dairy consumption campaign strategy. The volunteer must have experience conducting qualitative research, strong communication skills, and speak Spanish at a conversational level. 

Agribusiness Market Research Specialist (August-September 2015: 3 weeks)
A volunteer is needed to conduct a rapid local and regional market study for value-added products made from cassava, cow milk, cacao, and guava. The market study, in conjunction with a separate feasibility study, will empower four women’s cooperatives in Nueva Guinea to make informed and strategic decisions as they develop their business plans. The volunteer should have experience conducting field market studies/analyses and surveys, leading focus groups, working with small-scale producers, processors, and cooperatives, and will preferably have a graduate degree in Agricultural Economics or Agribusiness or a related field and have a basic knowledge of Spanish.

Cheese Processing Specialist (October 2015 (Preferably October 11-25th): 2 weeks)
A volunteer Cheese Processing Specialist is needed to conduct workshops with the Nicaraguan Institute for Development (INDE) regarding proper cheese processing techniques that will ensure safe, high-quality products. The volunteer will also deliver two presentations at the National Cheese Fair in October: 1) new cheese processing techniques to ensure food quality and safety; and 2) Market trends in the commercialization of dairy products and potential opportunities with free trade agreements. The volunteer will also teach the INDE team proper methodology for evaluating and grading different types of cheese, which may include: queso fresco (artisanal basic cheese), mozzarella, hard cheeses (parmesan, etc.), and specialty cheeses (goat cheese, etc.). It is expected that at the end of the assignment, the INDE team will improve their ability to evaluate and grade different cheeses at the National Cheese Fair, promoting cheese quality in Nicaragua. Additionally it is expected that producers will be training on how to improve their processing skills to make higher quality cheese.

OTHER COUNTRIES

Hive Management (Nicaragua, August-September 2015: 2-3 weeks)
A volunteer is needed with experience in general hive management, preferably with a graduate degree in entomology. The purpose of this assignment is to help improve beehive management including inspection, monitoring and development of new and innovative trap systems for managing unwanted inhabitants. In this assignment, the volunteer will help the beekeepers learn about the following: hive inspection, increasing hive productivity, understanding factors that affect hive production, understanding bee activity both in and out of the hive, removing old combs, and building and using a system to catch pollen and propolis. The volunteer needs to have at least a conversational level of Spanish, be flexible and adaptable, and strong presentation and communication skills.

Honey Value-Added Assignment (Nicaragua, September 2015: 2-3 weeks)
A volunteer is needed with experience in: general hive management, working with minimal resources to make high quality value-added products from honey, and packaging, labeling, marketing, and selling value-added honey products. The purpose of this assignment is to teach beekeepers how to create value-added products derived from honey in order to increase their economic returns on honey yields. At the end of this assignment hosts will know how to make new products and package, label, and market them in local and regional markets. The volunteer is expected to give workshops on making and marketing value-added honey products and on how to maintain honey quality post-harvest. Some of the possible value-added products are mead/honey wine, candles, propolis, and pollen. The volunteer needs to have at least a conversational level of Spanish, be flexible and adaptable, and strong presentation and communication skills.

Cocoa Processing and Marketing Specialist (Panama, August-September 2015: 2-3 weeks)
An F2F expert is needed to build the capacity of La Asociación de Profesionales and Técnicos Ngäbe-Buglé de Bocas del Toro (APROTENGB) to improve the quality, diversify their production, and market their products made from cocoa in an artisanal and efficient way. The technical assistance required will contribute to finding solutions to the following limitations the families face in the processing and commercialization of cocoa: creation of a single product, small amount of chocolate bars produced to be marketed, appealing to more urban buyers and buyers of differing socioeconomic levels, changing to a more sustainable processing method, and lack of market knowledge and understanding. The volunteer assignment will help 15-20 families of Ngäbe origin from Changuinola to raise their income by increasing the number of cocoa products that they process and that are marketed by APROTENGB, who also will improve its profit margins. The small cocoa producers will also increase the quantities sold to the organization. All of this should contribute to reducing child labor and school dropout in these families. The volunteer should have knowledge and practical experience in processing cacao (preferable through artisanal methods), marketing artisanal cacao products, calculating costs and managing projects, training adults of varied education levels, and have Spanish language skills. 

Sustainable Agriculture/Gardening and Nutrition Specialist (Fall/Winter 2015-2016: 2-3 Months)
One or two volunteers (with 2-3 months of availability) are needed with experience in organic gardening and/or agriculture (ideally in tropical environments). This assignment will work in collaboration with the Arajuno Road Project (ARP) to support food insecure communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The purpose of this assignment is to train ARP field technicians and student and adult community members in sustainable agriculture/gardening practices and continue to develop school/community gardens. Application of the consultation and training will result in developmentally appropriate planning for the following age-appropriate learning activities: choosing and preparing nutritious and healthy foods; planning, cultivating, and maintaining a garden; re-use or recycling of materials to conserve natural resources. The ideal volunteer(s) will have knowledge of basic nutrition, good writing, analytical and evaluation skills, strong interpersonal communication and presentation skills, and have hands-on classroom experience with children and adults. A certification/undergraduate/post-graduate degree in horticulture, agronomy, or a related field is preferred. The volunteer(s) need to be flexible and adaptable and have at least a conversational level of Spanish.


Don't see something that matches your skills? Other volunteer assignment areas include:

  • natural resource management
  • horticulture
  • dairy and livestock marketing
  • small animal production
  • beekeeping
  • agribusiness & enterprise development
  • organizational development
  • water management
  • climate-adapted agriculture
  • and more.

If you are interested in volunteering with the Farmer-to-Farmer Program, please send your resume and all program inquiries to Orli Handmaker at Partners International in Washington, DC, or call (202) 524.6295.

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This webpage is made possible in part by the generous support of the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.