2/12/2020

Volunteer Mission Set to Help Improve Productivity of Kenya’s Smallholder Farms

By LaRon Beemer, marketing advisor Beamer Hero

Corteva employee, LaRon Beemer, travels to Kenya, to work with smallholder farms on improving farm productivity and agricultural best practice. Beemer’s trip comes as part of the Farmer-to-Farmer program (F2F), which is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).  F2F matches the technical expertise of US farmers and professionals in agri-businesses, farming cooperatives, and universities with farmers and agribusinesses in developing countries to assist them in improving agricultural productivity, accessing new markets, and increasing their incomes.

A US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded program is putting Corteva employees on the ground in Africa, to help smallholder farmers in developing countries improve productivity and market access.

LaRon Beemer, market advisor based in Indianapolis, recently returned from a two-week Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer assignment in Kenya.  Beemer’s assignment was to work with the North Rift Dairy Farmers Company, analyzing their milk aggregation and marketing operations, in order to develop a business turnaround plan.

The Farmer-to-Farmer program (F2F) is funded by the USAID. The F2F matches US farmers, agribusiness professionals, farming cooperatives, and universities, with farmers and agribusinesses in developing countries to help them improve agricultural productivity, access new markets, and increase income.  The F2F assignments in Kenya are currently implemented by the International Executive Service Corps (IESC). They aim to address deficits in the financial ecosystem hindering investment and growth in agriculture for individual farmers, and micro, small, and medium sized enterprises by delivering volunteer technical assistance.

This is Beemer’s third USAID volunteer assignment. He has previously worked on projects in Tanzania and Kenya, and says that Africa, its people, and its farmers hold a special place in his heart.

“I really enjoy the privilege of using my passion for Africa and agricultural development to make a difference on the ground,” Beemer said.

“The F2F assignments are a great opportunity to take my skills in finance, strategy, markets, and business development to make a tangible impact in peoples’ lives.

“I was able to draw on my business and financial skills from Corteva, previous projects in Africa, and my practical farming knowledge.  The F2F assignments are an excellent option for passionate employees to make a real impact, contribute to Corteva’s goals to reach smallholder farmers and increase employee volunteering, with all volunteer expenses covered.”

The USAID-funded John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program provides technical assistance to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries. It aims to promote sustainable improvements in food security and agricultural processing, production, and marketing. The main goal of the program is to generate sustainable, broad-based economic growth in the agricultural sector through voluntary technical assistance. A secondary goal is to increase the US public’s understanding of international development issues and programs, as well as international understanding of the US and its development programs.

For more information, please visit https://farmer-to-farmer.org/