Agribition Center Manager Trains Farmers in Ghana
Improving On-Farm Productivity
Alabama A&M University Agribition Center manager Robert Spencer has volunteered for the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Farmer-to-Farmer program since 2006. From August 11-24, 2019, however, he made his first trip to Ghana in West Africa, where he worked with members of the Rural Organization of Women Farmers and Agro-Processing Development (ROWFAD) group in the community of Bugubelle.
The ROWFAD members receive technical assistance on how to improve on-farm productivity, access new markets, and grow annual income. During his visit, Spencer trained nine women and two men on how to produce bar soap, shampoo, and skin cream with local shea and palm oils.
ROWFAD members test marketed their products during Spencer’s last day in town and earned a total of $45. Although $45 seems like a small amount by American standards, the revenue was enough to support the trainees and their families for an entire week.
The USAID’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program uses volunteers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia with expertise in agribusiness and other careers to respond to the needs of farmers and organizations around the world. Although funded by USAID, the program is implemented globally by such organizations as Land O'Lakes Venture 37, Partners of the Americas, Winrock International, and the High Atlas Foundation just to name a few.
Spencer also volunteered in Jamaica in June 23-July 7, 2019, as a pasture nutrition specialist, providing input on how to improve on-farm practices. He trained local farmers and field officers about the care and management of dairy goat. This training involved included practices regarding nutrition, forages, and reproduction, as well as hands-on training on the use of FAMACHA, a method used to identify the presence of parasites in sheep and goats.
Spencer is a former animal science specialist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, which now manages the Agribition Center.
Contact Spencer at (256) 859-5896 to learn more about his travels to assist global farmers, or visit https://farmer-to-farmer.org/ to learn more about the Farmer-to-Farmer program.