Organic and other Sustainable food production methods are typically more labor-intensive and more costly than conventional methods. The increasing awareness of the health benefits of organic foods and the quest to be better stewards of environmental resources have attracted some beginning farmers into organic agriculture. The low level of farming experience of these individuals as well as the labor intensive and costly nature of this type of food production usually result in financial losses that leaves these beginning farmers disillusioned about organic agriculture or farming in general. Given the fact that the average age of farmers and the number of young people interested in farming have been increasing and decreasing over the years, respectively, it is extremely important to train extension professionals to provide realistic and accurate information a as well as offer direct technical support to these farmers; Training on the use of realistic enterprise budgets must accompany other technical aspects such as pest management training to help reduce the number of disgruntled first-time farmers; disgruntled farmers sometimes become highly effective at dissuading others from venturing into sustainable food production. To prevent/reduce these incidents, extension professionals and peer mentors need to be trained to offer sustainable food production advice/information that is technically sound, realistic, and cost-effective. Sustainable farmers need information on cost-effective combination of available resources. Training of extension professionals on best practices in recruiting and guiding new sustainable crop producers must accompany their training in the delivery of important technical information/techniques such as pest management.
Project objectives from proposal:
The main objectives are to equip extension professionals and peer-mentors with information, skills, and best practices in:
(1)the provision of both technical information pertaining to pest management as well as effective financial planning in organic crop production.
(2) Helping new sustainable producers to have realistic expectations
(3) Assisting sustainable crop producers to use research-based pest-management and other technical information that are relevant to their geographical location and scale of operation