Agriculture and forestry extension
From Peace Corps Wiki
 YOUR WORK AS A PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER
In many of the countries where Peace Corps Volunteers work, the economic base of rural communities is founded upon agricultural enterprise. As an Agriculture and Forestry Extension Volunteer, you help rural families by increasing agricultural productivity and environmental protection, improving nutritional awareness, and organizing income generation activities. In collaboration with male and female farmers, women or youth groups, schools, government agriculture extensionists or non-profit organizations, you may be involved in the following types of projects:
 Field Crop Production
- Conduct field trials and demonstrations with local
farmers to experiment with crop rotation, erosion control, cover crops, seed production, crop varietal selection, fertilizer use, irrigation and integrated pest management. The objective is to increase production of staple crops such as rice, corn, millet, sorghum, and cassava.
 Community, School and Home Gardens
- Work with farmers and students to improve production
of indigenous or newly introduced varieties of fruits and vegetables by using “bio-intensive” gardening techniques that maximize production in a limited area or growing season.
- Promote inter cropping fruits or vegetables with
field crops to improve local diets.
 Community Forestry
- Train local people in technical skills to create village
woodlots, community nurseries, and reforestation of degraded lands.
- Train farmers to apply sound forestry and conservation
practices, such as inter cropping, contour planting, and use of live fencing.
- Make presentations on environmental education in rural
schools and at farmers’ meetings to provide information on environmentally sound alternatives to destructive practices.
 Food Storage and Preservation
- Work with families or cooperative groups on
methods to decrease post-harvest losses to insects, rodents, or spoilage by using home storage units or grain treatments using ash or other locally available materials.
- Work with local farmers who are organizing
themselves into marketing cooperatives in order to gain a higher market price for their produce.
- Conduct demonstrations that motivate small scale
farmers to experiment with various fisheries techniques, including the construction of new ponds and the renovation of existing ponds.
- Give workshops on sustainable and efficient
aquaculture practices, such as fertilization, stocking, fish culture techniques, transportation of fingerlings, and fish harvesting.
- Train community members in marketing and in
small-scale fishery business management to enable the expansion or start-up of aquaculture ventures.
You function at the grass-roots level to address critical development problems associated with hunger, poverty, and economics. Involvement in these activities means involvement in the life of the community and often, an assignment with little or no established structure or schedule. You will be continually engaged in defining your role in response to the needs of the local people. Your creativeness, flexibility, self-motivation, and selfdiscipline will be vigorously challenged as you establish credibility and adapt to your new environment. You are part of a long-term development process, measuring your progress by small successes within the warmth and sincerity of the local people’s hospitality.
 EXAMPLE OF AGRICULTURE PROJECTS
Peace Corps Volunteers in Honduras work with farm families who must farm on steep slopes that are very susceptible to erosion. Many farmers practice migratory agriculture, in which a parcel of forest is slashed and cultivated for a period of three to five years, or until further cultivation is not feasible. Volunteers work with farmers to develop techniques that are more ecologically sustainable and financially viable. Examples include row tillage, construction of live erosion barriers, and cover crops. The project has been managed since 1989 in collaboration with the Honduras Ministry of Natural Resources and several private voluntary organizations.
 EXAMPLES OF FISHERIES PROJECTS
The Rural Fish Culture Project promotes appropriate aquaculture techniques and offers villagers an income generating occupation. Peace Corps Volunteers help villagers build and manage their own fish ponds. Duties include working with or advising fish farmers and teaching fish culture techniques to a population that has limited experience with animal husbandry or agriculture practices. Volunteers are also selecting pond system sites in the equatorial rain forest and organizing community meetings.
Peace Corps Volunteers are working as Coastal Resources Management Advisors for small island municipalities. Their primary objective is to assist municipal governments in managing community fishing resources. Projects include: promoting rehabilitation of marine resources by deploying artificial reefs, organizing mangrove reforestation, and demonstrating environmentally safe fishing methods. They are also involved in establishing marine sanctuaries and training fishermen in business management techniques.
 EXAMPLE OF FORESTRY PROJECTS
Peace Corps’ work is vitally important to the conservation and management of Guatemala’s forests and cultivated soils. Some farmers do not recognize the value of conserving natural resources and are dependent upon forests for construction materials and firewood and on soil for crops. The goal of the General Directorate of Forests and Wildlife is to integrate all conservation activities. Volunteers assist by training community leaders and groups in conservation of natural resources practices and systems, such as small nurseries, soil conservation techniques, agroforestry systems, composting, and reforestation techniques for fuelwood and fruit trees.
 A REWARDING EXPERIENCE
Service as a Peace Corps Volunteer offers you a unique opportunity to learn about critical development issues from the inside by helping people address community problems that they themselves have identified. You can make a tremendous contribution to the lives of others. At the same time, you discover that your experience is as much about your learning as it is about teaching.
Volunteer service develops or accentuates your professional abilities and enhances your personal growth. Virtually all returning Volunteers agree they have received far more than they have given. Recent college graduates gain hands-on experience and sometimes further define their career goals. Others confirm their commitment to their profession and receive career-boosting international experience. Retirees bring their accumulated life experiences to those that need and respect them.
Many employers place great value on the Peace Corps experience. You will find that your worldview, resourcefulness, and cross-cultural skills set you apart. You can have easier access to federal government jobs or earn college credit or scholarships because of your Peace Corps service. Whatever you decide to do after Peace Corps, you will bring with you a rare knowledge of the world, of people, and of yourself.
While there may be days of frustration and disappointment, there will also be a lifetime of satisfaction. The courage, patience and fortitude you call upon helps you understand why Peace Corps is still the toughest job you’ll ever love.
 VOLUNTEER PROFILE
Most Agriculture and Forestry Extension volunteers are recent college graduates who have previously studied a foreign language. Many of these volunteers are liberal arts majors who have three months of relevant experience. Volunteers who work in this assignment have several of the following skills:
- vegetable gardening or landscaping experience;
- good leadership and organizing skills;
- formal or informal teaching or tutoring with adults
- some hands-on experience on a farm or in a nursery;
- interest and background in environmental issues.