In May 2012, Dr. Robin Brumfield, trained forty-six hydroponic shadehouse vegetable operators in Guyana. They were beneficiaries of the Hydroponic Shadehouse Vegetable Production and Marketing Project (ATN/ME-11699-GY). This project was financed by the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank
From July to August 2013, Dr. Brumfield's input through the Farmer to Farmer program was linked to the IDB/JPO-funded Sustainable Livelihoods and Community Economic Growth through Hydroponic and Organic Vegetable Production and Marketing Project (ATN/JO-13502-GY). Dr. Brumfield targeted training female shadehouse producers. She introduced them to the curriculum for Suzanne’s Project, which she debuted in Turkey in 2011 to train women farmers on the basic skills they needed to sustain profitable agricultural businesses.
"I am honored to be able to help shadehouse producers in Guyana better understand and manage their costs so that they can be more profitable. As a coordinator of Annie’s Project New Jersey, a program to teach business management skills to female farmers, I am honored to have this opportunity to teach more women farmers skills to make their shadehouses more profitable. As co-founder of Suzanne’s Project, a program to empower Turkish women farmers, I am pleased that the Partners of the Americas' Farmer to Farmer program has asked me to bring this program to Guyana to spread the vision of Rutgers University’s “Jersey Roots, Global Reach,” by giving me the opportunity to empower women producers in South America.” Dr. Brumfield
“What stood out for me was the sacrifice that so many of the small farmers had to make to produce their crops and get them to the market, especially those in the remote areas. Their interest in learning all they can to make their small-scale operation profitable was well worth my trip and I was grateful to the Farmer to Farmer program for allowing me to share my expertise." Dr. Brumfield
Farmers use the soilless cultivation as another way to grow vegetables (cash-crops) such as bok choy, celery, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers. One of the benefits of the Hydroponic Production System is that it can provide fresh produce year-round, something that home gardeners can benefit from as well. Flooding during the rainy season and infestation from on-ground pests are two things producers avoid when they grow crops in shallow, hydroponic raised beds. The recommended size of a single shadehouse was 18x24 ft and using second grade lumber it cost about G$320,000 (approximately US$1,600).
“The shadehouse training provides important information for small-scale vegetable producers to monitor costs of their operations and relevant tools on how to take advantage of niche markets.”
Providing rural and disadvantaged households with the know-how, guidance and support mechanisms to become self-employed entrepreneurs. Helping growers turn to sustainable, low-cost shadehouse vegetable production facilities, used for both commercial and home-based vegetable production. Showing growers how to project vegetable cost analysis and how to develop the enterprise budgets for vegetable crops and business planning.
With over 35 years of experience in greenhouse production and management, Dr. Brumfield is an authority in the greenhouse industry. She has developed a computer program that has become a standard to the greenhouse industry called GREENHOUSE COST ACCOUNTING. This software helps greenhouse managers allocate costs for specific crops and is a tool for making effective managerial decisions to sustain their operations. Dr. Brumfield has written marketing and business management chapters for the 7th edition of the best-selling textbook, Greenhouse Operations and Management, by Dr. Paul V. Nelson.
Dr. Brumfield was impressed with the simplicity and appropriateness of this technology:
"Using food crops that Guyanese already eat, using local materials like paddy husks (rice hulls), and using organic and locally-produced pesticides makes shadehouse vegetable production cost effective and doable with a high probability of success for farmers and non-farmers.”
For more information about Hydroponic Shadehouse Vegetable Production and Marketing Project, contact Dr. Robin Brumfield at brumfield@AESOP.Rutgers.edu
Partners of the Americas’ Farmer to Farmer program, sponsored Dr. Brumfield’s visit to Guyana so that she can improve the economic opportunities in rural areas of Latin America and the Caribbean by increasing food production and distribution, promote better farm and marketing operations and conserve natural resources.
The Farmer to Farmer program is supported by the U.S. Congress and USAID as part of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Program. Partners of the Americas’ Farmer to Farmer program, brings together agricultural professionals and practitioners from the U.S. and the Caribbean who serve as volunteers, working with farmers and agribusiness owners in Guyana, Haiti, Nicaragua and Dominican Republic to identify local needs and design projects to address them. As was the case for the first shadehouse project, this successor project is being implemented by Partners of the Americas and Caribbean Self Reliance International (Casri). For more information about the Farmer to Farmer program, Partners of the Americas (Guyana Chapter), please contact Kelvin Craig, Country Coordinator, Guyana at (cell) 592-623-4263 or (office) 592-222-2991, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org