Despite the corona pandemic, VHL University of Applied Sciences (VHL) is providing a training course in Suriname in the coming weeks. Extension staff from the Ministry of Regional Development and farmers are following a 5-day training course on sustainable agriculture, value chains, communication, cost-benefit analyses and reporting.
During the first week, 12 extension staff members and the field manager of the Ministry of Regional Development followed training in the capital Paramaribo. The second week of the course will be provided in the town of Moengo, where 16 farmers and extension staff members will be trained in various aspects of sustainable agriculture and forestry. With these new skills they can help improve agricultural practices and hence food security in villages located in the densely forested interior of Suriname.
Every day starts with an online lesson provided by lecturers of the Forestry and Nature Management programme in the Netherlands, followed by practical exercises or more online lessons. In Suriname, visiting VHL staff member Mr Ahmad Vreden will provide the students with advice and tips. There will also be a field trip led by a group of entrepreneurs to a successful dragon fruit plantation in the district of Brokopondo.
“Allotment lands are always cultivated by a small group, most typically consisting of women,” says participant Ms Pinas. “What we learned today in the communication lesson I can put to good use to improve the way we work together.”
The training course is part of tailor-made training programme developed by VHL and funded by NUFFIC OKP. The programme was commissioned by Suriname’s Directorate for Agricultural Development in the Interior, which falls under the Ministry of Regional Development.