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February 2015

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Winrock International, the Arkansas Women's Business Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Arkansas at Hope and Texarkana will host the Arkansas Farmers’ Market Vendor & Manager Training on March 10, in Hope, Ark. Register to learn how to grow your markets and increase profitability.

The USAID Lowering Emissions in Asia’s Forests project, and its partners, provided significant support to the development of the Provincial REDD+ Action Plan in Vietnam, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 27 percent (compared with 2010 levels) by 2020. The result of that support is a gender-inclusive low-emissions development plan for the Lam Dong forestry sector that meets the requirements of international standards and the local context, and also embodies the efforts of various government departments, organizations, experts and communities. Read more.

USAID officials (including South & Central Asia Office Director Bradley Bessire and Deputy Mission Director Paul Sabatine) traveled to the Bangladesh Sundarbans this week to visit some Climate Resilient Ecosystems and Livelihoods project sites. Winrock is proud to implement this project that is improving livelihoods while protecting vulnerable ecosystems. See photos from the visit on the USAID Bangladesh Facebook page.

John Fisk, director of the Wallace Center at Winrock International, will be speaking about sustainable food practices at the City of Little Rock's Sixth Annual Sustainability Summit on April 9. Register for the summit.

Read about how the USAID Tibetan Sustainable Environmental Resources for Increased Economic Growth project in China helped Tibetan herders revive land that was damaged by climate change.

More than 75 speakers converged at the first-ever Food Tank Summit in January to share ideas and facilitate discussions around multiple food and agriculture topics. Winrock’s John Fisk participated in a panel session dedicated to Democratizing Innovation. Watch this video to hear what Fisk had to say.

Winrock is recruiting Chief of Party candidates for an anticipated Building Liberia’s Value Chains Project, focusing on increasing smallholder farmer incomes. Advanced degree in agribusiness, agronomy, or related field required. Submit a resume and cover letter referencing Liberia BLiV COP by March 30, 2015.

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.

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David Agnew, Jude Kearney and John Nees join Winrock's board of directors
New board membersOn Feb. 25, Winrock International announced the elections of David Agnew, Jude Kearney and John Nees to its board of directors — with each accepting five-year appointments.

Agnew, managing director for government affairs with Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets (MIRA), has also served in the White House as deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and director of intergovernmental affairs. Kearney, a shareholder at the Greenberg Traurig law firm who serves as chair of the firm’s Africa Practice, is focused on corporate transactions, with an emphasis on international project finance. Nees is a founding partner of the Getty Land Company and manages a privately held energy company with operations in the Gulf Coast and Appalachian regions. His broad background includes finance, agriculture, infrastructure and energy.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome these three leaders to Winrock’s board of directors,” said Board Chair Betsy Campbell. “Mr. Agnew, Mr. Kearney and Mr. Nees are each highly respected among their colleagues and within their professional communities.”

Winrock President and CEO Rodney Ferguson added: “This addition makes a strong board of directors even stronger. We are eager to utilize the experience and perspectives they bring, and excited about the impact they will have on Winrock International and the global work that we do.”

Read more.

New market strategies boost incomes for resin collectors in small Cambodian village
Sean Tha, resin collector.Villagers in Poupet, a small community in Cambodia’s Mondulkiri Province, are earning more money from collecting and selling resin than ever before and are supporting their families without jeopardizing the forest resources they need to survive. But that wasn’t always the case.

Low resin prices, as well as shrinking rice yields due to unsustainable farming practices, brought increasing levels of poverty. Villagers turned to cutting and selling their resin trees (which were passed along through generations) and poaching wild animals to generate income. Simple market strategies provided the solution.

The Supporting Forests and Biodiversity project team learned that villagers didn’t consolidate the resin they harvested — which would command a higher price for larger volumes — and they didn’t have market data. Resin traders purchased from individuals and offered lower-than-market prices. Resin is valuable for use in a variety of sealing and waterproofing products, and resin harvesting provided the only source of income during the dry season.

Read more.

New farming practices lead to improved cultivation and increased incomes
RajiaRajia Begum, a housewife in a seven-member family, resides in Chokar Kanda village in the Tala upazila (sub-district) of Satkhira district in Bangladesh. Her husband is a smallholder farmer who struggles to maintain the family’s livelihood with their one-and-a-half acre farm.

In an effort to support her husband’s farming efforts and to improve her family’s well-being, Rajia joined a producer group organized by the Winrock-implemented Rural Enterprise for Alleviating Poverty (REAP) project, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to learn improved methods of aquaculture and horticulture.

In the southwest region of Bangladesh, there are many paddy lands (or “ghers”) where farmers can cultivate freshwater prawn after harvesting rice during the monsoon season. However, far too many farmers lose out on potential profits due to lack of knowledge about modern techniques. They usually stock post-larvae prawns directly in the ghers, but because they are delicate, the prawns will die if they are not carefully nurtured. Rajia received training from REAP on improved methods of freshwater prawn cultivation and learned that stocking of juvenile prawns resulted in a better yield. She prepared her 0.36 acre gher and stocked 2,200 juveniles collected from a nearby prawn nursery. She also stocked 150 fingerlings of various carp to maintain a water quality suitable for prawns.

After six months of cultivation, Rajia harvested 78 kilogram of prawns and 80 kilogram of fish from her gher and earned approximately $827 USD – making a profit margin of $510. Additionally, after training, other members of the producer group, as well as Rajia’s neighbors, visited her gher to learn more about the improved cultivation practice. As for Raija and her family, she says: “Now I am proud that I can also earn for my family.”
       


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