A-maize-ing Results: “My Family is Better off All Around”

At the close of this program in Timor Leste’s Viqueque region, Manuel says his family is better off all around. “We don’t have to buy as much in the market so it’s a saving for us. And, a few months ago, I sold some of my harvest and earned enough to cover my family’s basic needs. I also bought some equipment to improve and expand my planting area,” he says.

Another farmer, who only used to be able to grow enough for five months, says, “Nearly a year after harvest, we still have food.”

Manuel says he is getting greater yields of improved-quality maize and has learned to dry it and protect it from pests and mold by storing it in airtight containers like water bottles. Besides maize and rice, he plants a wider variety of foods – beans, taro root, cassava, papaya – for better nutrition.

According to the program’s final report, all of the farmers who took part in the training are using one or more of the environmentally-friendly farming techniques they learned.  At the start of the program, maize yielded around 1,036 pounds per hectare (2.5 acres). Everyone met or exceeded the target of 1,343 lbs./hectare, some harvesting as much as 2,320. And, by drying and storing maize in airtight containers – instead of hanging it in unprotected sheaves outdoors – their losses to mold and pests are minimal.

Local partner staff and extension workers from the Ministry of Agriculture live and farm in the same villages as program participants, and will continue to model improved farming and storage techniques on their own land. The Ministry of Agriculture will continue to assist farmers with seed, training, moisture testing and new ideas.

Caption: Manuel’s great results from improved seed and environmentally-friendly farming

Timor Leste Viqueque Program
Led by Catholic Relief Services and Local Partner Fraterna
5 communities, 380 households, 3,268 individuals

03/02/2018 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Growing Success: Land Donation to Benefit Women Farmers

More women will benefit from training through our Burkina Faso Namentenga program, thanks to a generous land donation. Community leaders agreed to donate 17 acres of communal land to develop into a training site. The site is upstream from a dam to facilitate irrigation, and will be divided into smaller parcels for the women to work and practice on. At least 120 women farmers will learn how to earn an income from market gardening.

To be more inclusive and ensure that each participant feels she is receiving the same benefits, all hands-on training must be done on a communal plot of land. It was critical to find a place everyone could agree on. After a lengthy process of meetings with the authorities of three communities, community-wide discussions, negotiations, and legal work, the original goal of 15 acres was met and exceeded. Community leaders also expressed willingness to participate in work planning. Such community buy-in promotes ownership of the entire process and creates a firm foundation for the women’s long-term success as market farmers.

The program follows Catholic Relief Services’ proven SMART Skills (Skills for Marketing and Rural Transformation) approach. SMART teaches basic skills all farmers need so that they can grow more food, market excess, and earn a sustainable income. By growing their own crops, the women will learn sound farming techniques to improve their soil, increase the quality of their produce, and manage their farms and money with good record keeping.

Photo caption: Women discuss seasonal planting schedules

Burkina Faso Namentenga Program
Led by Catholic Relief Services
73 communities, 2,620 households, 15,720 individuals

12/13/2017 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Farmers, churches help overseas farms via Foods Resource Bank

Richard Aparco of Peru stood nervously before about 50 people at Assumption Parish in O'Fallon and discussed crop rotation and yields, organic fertilizer, greenhouses, irrigation and more.
An agronomist coordinator of a Foods Resource Bank program in Peru coordinated by Lutheran World Relief, Aparco added a bushel of thanks to supporters of the Christian response to world hunger.

Speaking with the help of translator Alex Morse of Kansas City, Kan., the first-time visitor to the United States

02/26/2016 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Update on Ebola in West Africa

Several countries in West African have been fighting an Ebola outbreak for the past several months and the disease continues to spread.  There are now 6 countries in the region where the disease has been found – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Senegal.  

One of the countries hardest hit is Sierra Leone where we have two FRB programs

09/19/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Catholic Relief Services and Farmer to Farmer

Catholic Relief Services recently held a blog carnival surrounding the Farmer to Farmer program on their website. We want to highlight the work they are doing as one of Foods Resource Bank's parter organzations and celebrate with them in the successes of 

07/22/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Family livelihoods successfully strengthened as Malawi program ends

As FRB’s Malawi-Kasungu-Mzimba program draws to a close, a report marks the program’s success and indicates that lives and livelihoods have been strengthened with training and support. In one of the world’s least-developed countries (171 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index), farmers have had to face such challenges as declining soil fertility, plant and soil diseases and pests, lack of access to water, and the high risks of depending on one crop (maize) for survival.

The program’s focus has been on expanding and strengthening agricultural-based livelihoods through the introduction of crop diversification and appropriate agricultural production techniques like

03/21/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Reflecting on the 1st year shows progress in Timor Leste

Participants from FRB’s Timor Leste-Viqueque program recently reviewed their first-year progress and gave feedback on program strengths and weaknesses during a “beneficiary accountability” meeting. They expressed gratitude for updates from program staff on project goals and objectives and for the chance to weigh in, stating that it was the first time any programming organization had taken the time to report back to them or ask them their opinions.

01/06/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Entrepreneurship + Opportunity = Success for Abraham in Sierra Leone

Before becoming a Private Service Provider (PSP), Abraham, now with FRB's Sierra Leone-Koinadugu program, was unemployed and did not have enough money to pay for his school fees. When he went home to visit his family on holiday, he heard of a CRS program training individuals to become experts in Savings and Internal Lending Communities(SILC) methodology. Immediately, Abraham recognized this as a great opportunity and enrolled himself in the training program. Four years later, he is a stand-out among his PSP peers and is recognized as CRS’s most successful PSP to date,as evidenced by his new motorbike.

09/27/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

SILC Allows Pa Alie to Open Shop and Open Possibilities in Sierra Leone

Three years ago Alie Bangura, known locally as Pa Alie, was a subsistence farmer and a driver on the side. His fields were unproductive, his family undernourished, and his children uneducated. To make matters worse, when Pa Alie’s vehicle broke down, he could not afford to repair it and therefore lost his job as a driver. Today, however, Pa Alie is a business owner and respected chairman of his SILC (savings and internal loan club)group as part of FRB's Sierra Leone-Koinadugu program.

09/18/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Dusuba's new house! …evidence of SILC Success

Like most others in the village of Gberia Timbakor, Dusuba struggled to meet her family’s necessities––food, shelter, and education. With a husband and six children, her small rice and groundnut farm was not enough to meet those needs. That is, until she joined a SILC group through FRB's Sierra Leone-Koinadugu program. Now, she says, she has overcome all of her obstacles.

08/14/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More
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