Farm management and agribusiness

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YOUR WORK AS A PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER

In many of the countries in which Peace Corps Volunteers work, the economic base of rural communities is founded upon agricultural enterprise. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, you help communities achieve greater food security and increase earning potential. You work in coordination with host government agencies, international development agencies, local farmer, and business organizations. You may work directly with agribusinesses or small farmers and micro-entrepreneurs. Depending on your assignment and your initial community assessment, your responsibilities may include:

Technical Assistance and Training for Small Farmers

Design and implement technical courses, seminars, and workshops in cost-benefit analysis, marketing, basic accounting, and credit management. Help farmers create farmer-owned and controlled marketing and supply cooperatives. Facilitate small business start-ups or income generating activities. Provide technical assistance in improving crop and livestock production. Advise farm families on how and when to produce and sell their goods. Help farmers better analyze traditional and potential markets by conducting a market and community needs assessment - this could lead to experimentation with direct marketing, specialty markets, or export markets.

Technical Support to Agribusinesses

Improve agribusinesses by implementing idea banks for new projects. Provide technical assistance to improve management and marketing practices. Train businesses in market analysis, production techniques, economic forecasting, and financing options.

Advice to Government Agencies

Provide advice to government officials who are formulating and implementing strategies for the agricultural sector. Help individuals and organizations adjust to privatization efforts and move to�wards a free market economy. Train community members and college students using innovative teaching methodologies at agricultural training institutions.

It is vital that you understand not only the myriad of technical problems, but also the cultural views and social and political context in which you operate. Your assignment may have little or no established structure or schedule. You continually define your role in response to the needs of the local people. Your willingness to integrate into your community and help your hosts find appropriate solutions can encourage people to participate. Your ability to organize and motivate others is as important as your technical knowledge and experience. You must also keep in mind that your role is that of a trainer so that new practices will continue even after your departure. Your success depends greatly on the relationships you forge and the trust you inspire.

EXAMPLES OF FARM MANAGEMENT/AGRIBUSINESS PROJECTS

Bolivia

The Peace Corps small enterprise project in Bolivia assists individual entrepreneurs and small business groups, including agricultural associations and youth programs, to improve their business management skills through training. Volunteers work with the local people to develop and improve domestic and export market channels for agricultural organizations. Several agricultural associations have successfully in�creased productivity and are now in the commercialization phase. Lacking expertise in this area, these organizations have requested assistance in linking production, collection, transport, storage, and distribution functions. Volunteers also work with individual entrepreneurs or artisan groups to encourage income-generating activities.

Russia

The role of the Peace Corps agribusiness specialists concentrates on the development of private and cooperative agribusinesses. Volunteers primarily focus on advising local officials on decentralization strategies for the food processing industry; providing assistance in organizing cooperative businesses in areas such as food processing or farm supplies; and rebuilding a rural service and enterprise sector. Volunteers interact with a variety of foreign agencies and organizations, including officials from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, United Nations, and U. S. Agency for International Development. They are assigned to work in a team, often in business development centers.

Morocco

Inadequate agricultural production in Morocco is due in part to increasing population pressures, overstocking of rangelands and consequent destruction of range habitat. Several years of drought have made the situation worse. Peace Corps Volunteers collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform at regional agricultural offices and agricultural training institutions. They serve as extension agents facilitating the adoption of sustainable agricultural and livestock production methods for income-generation. They may work specifically with youth or rural women.

QUALIFICATIONS FOR PEACE CORPS ASSIGNMENTS IN FARM MANAGEMENT/AGRIBUSINESS

A. BA/BS Agriculture Economics, OR B. Three years experience in farm management and/or agribusiness, OR C. BA/BS degree combining agricultural AND management, including agribusiness, agricultural management, farm management, OR D. BA/BS any business or economics discipline with one year experience in farming or agribusiness.