“This is an Opportunity to Improve People’s Lives and Give Them More Hope.” – Interview with Winrock International Farmer-to-Farmer Volunteer Champion Amadou Makhtar Diop
In Honor of Black History Month, Winrock International's Farmer-to-Farmer Program Recognizes and Celebrates Winrock International's Farmer-to-Farmer Program Volunteer Champion, Amadou Makhtar Diop
As an organization committed to sustainable and equitable agriculture and rural development, the Winrock International Farmer-to-Farmer Program would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and honor the significant contributions and impact that the Black Diaspora has had on the agriculture industry in the United States. For centuries, Black farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers have played a critical role in shaping and sustaining our food systems, despite facing systemic discrimination and barriers to land ownership and access to resources. Their contributions have been vital to the success and diversity of the American agriculture sector, yet their stories and legacy have often been overlooked or undervalued. We understand this is a long-term commitment and that much work must be done. However, we are committed to being a part of the solution and working toward a future where Black farmers, ranchers, and agricultural workers are honored, respected, and have the necessary resources and support to thrive. This is why we at Winrock International’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program would like to recognize and honor the work of one of our Volunteer Champions, Amadou Makhtar Diop.
Amadou Makhtar Diop is a highly experienced and passionate regenerative agriculture professional focusing on applied agricultural science, food systems, natural resources management, and the integration of livestock and crop production. He is skilled in developing and managing sustainable development projects promoting organic/regenerative farm practices and value-added products using participatory approaches. Makhtar has expertise in building linkages between governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in agricultural research. Makhtar has been a dedicated volunteer with Winrock International’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program since 2015 and has completed approximately 15 assignments. He is a strong advocate for the Program because it allows him to give back and make a positive impact. He believes the key to successful outcomes is to focus on individuals with a genuine spirit of service. Makhtar is a firm believer in the importance of having a DEI initiative for the agricultural sector, and he thinks it’s crucial for BIPOC communities to participate in the Farmer-to-Farmer Program. Through this Program, people of color can reconnect with their communities and their roots, which is essential to effectively responding to the challenges facing communities worldwide. Volunteering with Winrock International’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program offers many benefits, both for the Hosts they serve and the Volunteers themselves. For Makhtar, the opportunity to give back and make a positive impact is the most fulfilling aspect of volunteering, and he also values the chance to learn and grow through every assignment. He encourages BIPOC communities to consider volunteering with Winrock and making a difference in communities around the world.
What makes you passionate about Winrock’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program (F2F), and why are you such a strong advocate for the Program?
I am passionate about Winrock’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program because it allows me to give back and make a positive impact. I have been a Volunteer with the Program since 2015 and have completed approximately 15 assignments, each providing me with a new and rewarding experience. Giving back to my home country is essential, but my passion for service extends beyond serving my country of origin. Volunteering efforts that make a difference in communities can have a lasting impact, which is what makes the Farmer-to-Farmer Program so unique to me. When recruiting for the Program, I sometimes encounter individuals who are more focused on the financial aspect of consulting rather than the opportunity to serve. However, I believe the key to effective recruiting and producing successful outcomes is to focus on those with a genuine spirit of service. By working with individuals motivated by making a difference, I am confident that the Farmer-to-Farmer Program will continue to thrive and make a meaningful impact in communities worldwide.
Why do you think it’s crucial for BIPOC communities to participate in the Farmer-to-Farmer Program? What is the purpose and importance of having a DEI initiative for the agricultural sector?
Participating in the Farmer-to-Farmer Program provides an opportunity to build a truly diverse and inclusive country. In order to effectively respond to the challenges facing communities around the world, it’s important to have a connection to them. Through the Farmer-to-Farmer Program, people of color can reconnect with their communities and their roots. The ability to speak their own language and communicate without an interpreter is critical, as so much can be lost in translation. When I speak with people in their language, I truly belong to them and can better understand their needs. By involving BIPOC communities in the Farmer-to-Farmer Program, we can create a more diverse and inclusive agricultural sector that better serves communities worldwide.
What are the benefits of volunteering with Winrock International? Why should BIPOC communities volunteer?
Volunteering with Winrock International’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program offers many benefits, both for the Hosts we serve and the Volunteers themselves. For me, the most fulfilling aspect of volunteering is the opportunity to give back and make a positive impact. I also value the opportunity to learn and grow through every assignment. Every project presents new challenges and opportunities for personal growth, and I leave each one with a greater understanding of the world and its people. I believe that BIPOC communities, in particular, can greatly benefit from volunteering with Winrock’s Farmer-to-Farmer Program. Not only does it provide an opportunity to give back, but it also offers the chance to learn, grow, and expand one’s perspectives. I highly encourage BIPOC communities to consider volunteering with Winrock and making a difference in communities around the world.
What advice would you give a new Volunteer?
This is an opportunity to improve people’s lives and give them more hope. I feel great when the beneficiaries open their heart to me at the end of each assignment. Please do not give up on these opportunities!