Project in Colombia aimed at combating war on drugs through education, NMSU volunteers share experience

WRITER: xtapia
CONTACT: Del Jimenez, 505-852-2668, djimenez

New Mexico State University sent 10 volunteers to Colombia from January through June 2018. They went with the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Farmer-to-Farmer program through the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences.

Each of the volunteers spent two weeks with the University of La Salle spreading knowledge from their field of expertise and learning about the university’s Utopia project. The Utopia project aims to combat the war on drugs in post-conflict Colombia by giving students and families the opportunity to learn to make a living through agriculture.

Del Jimenez, agriculture specialist with NMSU College of ACES’ Cooperative Extension Service in Alcalde, New Mexico, visited Colombia in May. He shared his experience with NMSU’s Marketing and Communications.

Q: What did you do during your time in Colombia?

A: This was a two-week program where I was invited to see some interesting programs in a very beautiful country. I had the opportunity to do a hands-on demonstration on building a chicken tractor, speak with growers of crops, meet with various growers’ associations and see agricultural agents at work. I also gave various talks on crops and marketing, helped plant lettuce crops in the field, taught and worked with agronomic students from University of La Salle, saw a lot of places in Colombia and enjoyed interacting with a lot of dedicated people doing extension work.

Q: What was your favorite part of the trip?

A: Interacting with people who are focused on trying to help improve the situation of people, families, and the improvement of the nation.

Q: Why would you recommend for other people to volunteer with this program?

A: This is an opportunity to visit and interact with counterparts in other countries who have the same vision of helping others in need.

To view video interviews of other Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/nmsunews.

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