March 21, 2012 – MUSCLE SHOALS, Alabama – The National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) and IFDC are partnering to support the development of agricultural value chains in East Africa through Farmer-to-Farmer (FTF) Niche Projects. IFDC will utilize both on-the-ground and online volunteer networks managed by NPCA to strengthen agricultural value chains, ultimately increasing incomes for smallholder farmers and their families.
IFDC staff members and NPCA volunteers will work to develop value chains for commodities that have demonstrated market demand and to strengthen agricultural support services and institutions that support small-and medium-sized farmers.
“IFDC value chain projects utilize public-private partnerships (PPPs) to develop the agribusiness and trade necessary for sustainable food security,” said Dr. Richard Jones, agribusiness program leader for IFDC’s East and Southern Africa Division. “Incorporating NPCA programs with the PPP approach makes the projects particularly innovative.”
Using PPPs and the Competitive Agricultural Systems and Enterprises (CASE) approach, IFDC will identify market opportunities for food crops and then catalyze the development of agribusiness clusters to bring together the various partners needed to develop viable value chains. Increasing crop productivity through Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) and developing input supply systems so that farmers can access productivity-enhancing inputs and the knowledge needed to use them are integral components of the CASE approach.
Volunteers will be selected from NPCA’s Encore Service Corps International and share business plans and project successes on Africa Rural Connect (ARC). Encore volunteers are typically former Peace Corps Volunteers or other experienced professionals who have lived or worked in developing countries. They bring a unique combination of cross-cultural sensitivity, professional expertise and a life-long passion for service.
ARC is an innovative online incubator of ideas (www.AfricaRuralConnect.org) in which knowledgeable people work together to communicate and respond to the needs of African farmers.
To support the agribusiness clusters, IFDC will draw upon the skill base of Encore volunteers, who will contribute additional expertise through the ARC platform. Encore volunteers will communicate their progress on the ARC website and post ideas and questions for others in the community. The ARC platform will also be available to entrepreneurs in agribusiness clusters beyond the assignment of the volunteers.
The objectives of the FTF Niche Projects are to test innovative approaches to use U.S.-based volunteers overseas in the food and agriculture sector, to draw from non-traditional sources of U.S. volunteers and to allow new implementing organizations to participate in the 2009-2013 FTF programs.
Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the National Peace Corps Association (NPCA) is the nation’s leading 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization supporting Returned Peace Corps Volunteers and the Peace Corps community through networking and mentoring to help guide former Volunteers through their continued service back home. It is also the longest-standing advocate for an independent and robust Peace Corps and its values. For more information, visit: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org.
IFDC is a public international organization focusing on increasing and sustaining food security and agricultural productivity in developing countries through the development and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise. IFDC is governed by an international board of directors with representation from developed and developing nations. The non-profit Center is supported by bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, private foundations and national governments. For more information, visit: http://www.ifdc.org/.
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