Dr. Felix Buabeng, program coordinator/instructor for College of The Albemarle’s agribusiness technology program, traveled recently to Tajikistan to participate in the Farmer-to-Farmer program established by the U.S. Agency of International Development.

Buabeng spent three weeks over the winter break in the Central Asian country working with local growers on production management and the technology involved in growing vegetables in greenhouses. Buabeng offered technical advice to high-tunnel vegetable growers on the basics of vegetable growing technology. Issues addressed during the project included soil testing, pest and disease control, heating and humidity control, soil sterilization and fumigation, nursery care and seed selection.

“Having the ability to offer my services to the global community, and the opportunity to apply my experience and education to enhance rural agricultural food systems, was the central piece of this volunteering assignment,” Buabeng said. “The trip also offered me the opportunity to experience other cultures. I learned different native sustainable techniques used in food production which will be useful in enhancing my students’ concepts of sustainability whilst experimenting it.”

Buabeng said he plans to make a presentation about what he learned about Tajikistan’s culture and food systems to COA students this semester.

According to the USAID website, the John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer program “provides technical assistance from highly-skilled U.S. volunteers to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, service providers and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries. The program’s goal is to promote sustainable improvements in both food security and agricultural production, processing and marketing.”

Armstrong scholarship started for CDL program

The family of a longtime truck driver has established a new annual scholarship in his name to benefit students expected to enroll in the new commercial driver’s license program being planned at College of The Albemarle.

The George P. Armstrong Jr. Memorial Scholarship, the first for the CDL program and started with an annual gift of $1,000, will benefit a resident of COA’s seven-county service area enrolled either full or part time in the college’s CDL program. Students eligible for the scholarship must compose a brief essay on their career goals as a CDL driver during the application process and maintain a minimum 2.5 grade-point average.

“We, the family of the late George P. Armstrong Jr., are elated to offer this scholarship that will carry on his legacy of trucking, education and family,” said members of Armstrong’s family who gathered for a signing ceremony for the new scholarship. “George P. Armstrong Jr. drove semi-trucks for over 40 years and was a proponent of education. He lived by these mantras: ‘You can’t make money sitting still’ and ‘It’s better to get somewhere late than to not get there at all’ (meaning drive safely).”

Additional contributions may be made to the scholarship fund. For more information, contact Amy Alcocer, executive director of the COA Foundation at amy_alcocer68@albemarle.edu or 252-335-0821, ext. 2263.