“A lovely place – the farm, America, the people!”
The World Poultry Foundation partners with the Zimbabwean registered non-profit Growing Farmers Trust to fund training opportunities for Zimbabwean poultry farmers on US poultry farms. Placements are arranged through a partnership with the WISE Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Dyersburg, Tennessee, under the US Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor Program. Program financing is structured as a revolving model: The Trust fronts the cost of participating in the program; the youths commit to repay the Trust from their wages in their first months of employment in the US thus replenishing the fund for future participants.
This story is one in a series from Frances Chisholm highlighting stories of lives impacted by World Poultry Foundation programs and workshops both in the U.S. and abroad. We encourage you to learn more about Ms. Chisholm and our poultry projects in Zimbabwe.
Tonderai Gono arrived at a Rose Acre Farms egg farm in Indiana wide-eyed: “The level of technology and automation is impressive,” he said, “Now I understand how one person can manage a 100,000-bird house. People are into serious farming here!”
One of the first two aspiring Zimbabwean poultry farmers sponsored for training in the US by the World Poultry Foundation, Tonderai jumped at the early opportunity to manage a house himself when a staffing gap arose. He is applying the farm’s advanced record keeping system and looks forward to learning about feed formulation on a large scale, disease assessment, egg grading and packaging and food safety procedures. His supervisor moves the interns around the farm for maximum exposure.
“He’s open and friendly,” says Tonderai with satisfaction.
The young Zimbabwean, who brings a recent B.Sc. degree in Animal Science to the training program, has already floated a research project to management and has his eyes open for ways to improve layer production at home. “I realize we under-utilize the carrying capacity of cages in Zimbabwe,” he observed early, for example.
On the lighter side, asked what he is cooking evenings and how he is enjoying American food, Tonderai said he likes “anything with meat!” And asked about his first impressions, the affable young man said, “It’s a lovely place – the farm, America, the people!” He feels welcome and comfortable in the town with a population under 1,000, though he chuckles over some misconceptions he has encountered, “People think Africa is all jungle.”
It looks as if the learning will be in both directions, Tonderai! Have a wonderful year!
Ms. Frances Chisholm
Friend & Supporter of the WPF
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