Dow AgroSciences Addresses Food Security in Kenya
Assisting 200 million-plus people in Africa who are food insecure is part of Dow AgroSciences’ comprehensive food insecurity initiative. Partnering with AMPATH, Dow AgroSciences is helping to fight hunger in Africa by providing local farmers with agricultural knowledge intended to improve their crop yields and ultimately quality of life. Expertise is essential for sustainable change and Dow AgroSciences, as a leading plant science company, is sending employees to Kenya for six-month assignments to work alongside AMPATH to enable agricultural progress in the region.
LaRon Beemer, a Brownsburg, Indiana, resident and Finance Manager at Dow AgroSciences, is the first employee to work in Kenya on assignment. Since May, he has been engaging with AMPATH and the local agricultural community to learn about agricultural practices and generate ideas about improving local food security. Beemer has been interacting with area farmers and potential food chain partners to share information about vital components of modern agriculture and commercial development practices.
Beemer says when he first arrived in Kenya what immediately grabbed his attention were the fields of maize with such erratic and uneven heights. Working with the local farmers to ascertain the culprit, he concluded it was the land preparation process exacerbated by inconsistent rainfall during the season.
Beemer, who grew up on a farm in Missouri and holds an MBA, can help provide insight into agricultural techniques, industry knowledge, and agricultural marketing, as well as how to promote and sell produce for a fair market price.
“Education is the single most important asset that can be developed to advance food security. LaRon is a great example of how our employees bring a variety of skill-sets and knowledge that can make a real difference,” said David Sousa, Public Affairs Manager.
Dow leaders saw AMPATH as the ideal partner for this outreach program due to its extensive work and expertise providing holistic healthcare services in Kenya. Because of a commitment to initiating sustainable, locally-led programs, AMPATH now engages Kenyan farmers to produce food for its patients and local communities and has called on Dow AgroSciences to help with this initiative.
“Assuring food security is a critical part of managing the health of a resource-limited population. We are thrilled that Dow AgroSciences is joining forces with Indiana University, Purdue University, and our
Kenyan and North American partners to help us address this important issue,” said Robert Einterz, M.D., Executive Director of the AMPATH Consortium.
The role of agriculture in health and food security has been on Beemer’s mind for decades. While his career took a corporate path, his passion for Africa and agricultural development continued to grow. “We all see stories and pictures about hunger in the news, yet as I started looking beyond the headlines, I found real people with real issues and needs,” said Beemer who visited Africa last year. “I get more excited every time I visit with the people from AMPATH as they are a great organization to collaborate with and learn from in this space. Dow AgroSciences’ commitment is equally outstanding, and I’m honored to be part of this effort.”
Beemer will be located in Kenya until mid-November working to identify areas of need and networking with Dow AgroSciences subject matter experts around the world to develop sustainable solutions. In early November, Sarah Russell French, another Dow AgroSciences employee, will join Beemer in Kenya to start the transition as Beemer completes his six-month assignment. Other Dow AgroSciences employees will travel to Kenya for brief periods of time as expertise is needed.
“Our employees have so much passion for fighting world hunger and this collaboration opens great doors of promise and possibility through modern agriculture,” said Sousa. “No parent wants to have to make the choice between food or school for a child, and the work we are doing can change lives.”
You can follow Beemer and Russell French as they experience Kenya by searching agforafrica on social media channels. Read Beemer’s blog by linking here: http://newsroom.dowagro.com/blog