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February 2014

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On the Winrock Volunteers blog, Winrock’s Africa Country Directors share their thoughts and goals for the next five years of USAID's Farmer-to-Farmer program.

A new study from Michigan State University and the Wallace Center at Winrock International in Arlington, Va., is one of the first to show hubs also can be successful businesses with a commitment to bettering the communities they serve. “At the center of the value chain, food hubs satisfy the needs of farmers as well as the needs of buyers and end consumers,” Jeff Farbman of the Wallace Center said. Read more from

A USDA-funded project is demonstrating how farmers can reduce fertilizer costs, maintain yields, reduce environmental impacts, and take advantage of a new and emerging source of income. The project uses an American Carbon Registry quantification methodology developed by Michigan State University and the Electric Power Research Institute. Read more at the USDA blog.

The Winrock International-implemented Philippine Cold Chain Project expects to benefit nearly one million Caraga Region farmers. Read more as published in the Manila Bulletin.

The Wallace Center at Winrock International will fund Food Hub Development grants as part of their Strengthening Small-Scale Sustainable Farming and
Local Food Systems by Accelerating Food Hub Development program. The grant program will build on the significant work of Wallace’s National Good Food Network (NGFN) initiative to support food hub development and build capacity among small and mid-size farms throughout the U.S. to access regional markets, with an additional intention on building capacity among minority and female farmers. A request for applications has been issued for food hubs interested in grant support as part of this new work. Learn more here.

Registration is open for the 2014 NGFN Food Hub Collaboration Conference March 26-28 in Raleigh, N.C. This event will bring together food hub managers and their staff, technical assistance providers, public agency staff, community organizations, funders, and investors over two and a half days for engaging presentations, trainings, networking, tours, technical assistance and peer-learning opportunities. Read more.

Are you interested in working at Winrock? Search current openings and post your resume. Would you like to volunteer with Winrock? Learn more about new opportunities for volunteers.

Thai school children gain firsthand knowledge of water quality, river ecosystem monitoring
Thai school children gain firsthand knowledge of water quality, river ecosystem monitoringFrom Jan. 15 to 17, the USAID-funded, Winrock-implemented Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests (LEAF) project, in collaboration with the Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, organized a youth training camp on water quality and river ecosystem monitoring.

More than 30 children from five schools in the Mae Sa Catchment area, part of the Mae Sa-Kog Ma UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve near Chiang Mai, gained firsthand knowledge about riparian health and water quality testing. The Mae Sa Catchment provides valuable natural resources to surrounding communities and business operators. However, as the Reserve’s resources are increasingly exploited, they are showing signs of degradation, including sedimentation and water shortages. The training built awareness and appreciation for a healthy catchment. After the training, each school will continue activities to monitor water quality and ecosystem health.

LEAF is working to strengthen the capacity of countries to achieve meaningful and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the forestry-land use sector in six target countries: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia.

Business training brings results for Tibetan handicraft artisans
Business training brings results for Tibetan handicraft artisansTibetan handicrafts — from small, woven bracelets to large, ceramic pieces — are becoming popular with consumers in China and around the world. They symbolize Tibetan artistic and cultural sensibilities, while their sales support the artisans. However, these handicraft entrepreneurs face obstacles, from production to marketing, that hinder their livelihoods. In an effort to address the challenges Tibetan artisans face in realizing their business potential, the Winrock-implemented Tibetan Sustainable Environment Resources for Increased Economic Growth (TSERING) project, funded by USAID, conducted training in total quality management to 14 handicraft producers and businesses in eight locations in Qinghai Province, Sichuan Province and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The comprehensive training covered multiple aspects of running a business, such as material sourcing, consistent quality production, accurate pricing and marketing, and was accompanied by in-depth analysis of the specific needs of each participant. In addition, handicraft producers had the opportunity to contact retailers in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu that were interested in carrying their product lines.

As a result of the training and business contacts, eight handicraft firms improved their operations, with 71 artisans benefiting from new or continued employment. These businesses are now providing products to 10 urban retailers, who are confident in the quality and consistency of their merchandise. Delek, who participated in the total quality management training, says, “My business has improved, and I am happy to see that people buy my work.”

The goal of TSERING is to improve livelihoods, better the environment and preserve culture in Tibetan communities in the western and southwestern regions of China.

Date show in Pakistan helps connect growers with local markets
Date show in Pakistan helps connect growers with local marketsOn Dec. 8, the Pakistan Agriculture and Cold Chain Development (PACCD) project organized a date show in Lahore to create awareness among farmers and local markets regarding the many date varieties, as well as to establish linkages between date growers and market traders. Approximately 60 varieties of dates were exhibited by 35 farmers, who filled the venue’s stalls with more than simply the fruit itself. There were date syrups, coconut-infused dates, date rolls, date sweets, chocolate-coated dates and much more. Participants sampled date milkshakes and looked on as handicrafts made from dried date palm leaves were fashioned on the spot.

The Pakistan Agriculture and Cold Chain Development Project, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and implemented by Winrock International, is linking horticultural and fishery production in Baluchistan to modern markets in Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and Hyderabad. By connecting farmers to markets, PACCD increases market growth and raises the incomes of farmers.

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