Douglas resident Arthur Bassett recently completed a 14-day volunteer assignment in Guatemala with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded by John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer program implemented by Partners of the Americas.
Bassett is an agriculture auditor. He has been a resident of the McNeal/Douglas area for many years and decided to take on this volunteer opportunity because promoting organic coffee farmers in Guatemala helps provide better economic opportunities in Guatemala for families there. His trip took place July 7-21.
During their volunteer assignment, Bassett provided training on organic coffee production techniques for an association of coffee producers ACODIHUE. ACODIHUE, located in the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala provides technical assistance, credit, social programs and provides buyers for farmers, agribusinesses, and their local community.
Bassett was tasked with developing trainings, materials, and delivering workshops for ACODIHUE. With the completion of the assignment the organization is now better equipped to increase their productivity, competitiveness, and long-term sustainable management.
“This trip was one of several years of trips where I have volunteered with Farmer to Farmer,” Bassett said. “I am always surprised to learn about different countries like Haiti, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Guatemala has gotten a lot of bad press recently. The country has healthy vibrant areas and areas that are struggling economically. The coffee prices have been bad the last few years. Coffee farms and farmers without good prices or buyers are struggling to keep their coffee production going in 2019. The people were wonderful and I hope the improved organic production techniques were useful to them. Guatemala is a great country with lots of great things to offer.”
The trip was sponsored by Partners of the Americas as part of the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program. This program leverages the expertise of volunteers from the U.S. agriculture sector and educational institutions to respond to local needs of host-country farmers and organizations in order to increase food security, access to markets, and long-term sustainable development. Since 1985, over 19,000 Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers have provided technical assistance to over 1.5 million people in 112 countries.