During lunch, seven students from the Kyrgyz Agrarian University answered my questions about their studies, interest in agriculture and family life. Most are in their third year of study and excited to be focusing on their area of specialty having finished core classes. They enjoy the student farmer field school because they are actively farming with their friends and contributing to something productive. One works for an agricultural publication and hopes to continue in that area after graduation. Another wants to attend graduate school in horticulture, while a third will specialize in forestry. The others are more generalists studying agronomy. All grew up in farm families with two to three siblings. Our interpreter noted families were larger a generation ago. Their family farms are small (most about 2 hectors) and few grow enough crops to sell beyond local use. Typically, they have a small number of livestock.
All of the students have cell phones and enjoy using them. They did not think their parents listen to farm radio or television shows. Some spoke a little English. They seemed to be enjoying interacting with the IPM CRSP team and were very engaged in the diagnostic training, asking questions and earning certificates of completion. The future of Kyrgyz agriculture would be in good hands with these enthusiastic learners.
MSU's Dieudonne Baributsa awards the students with IPM scouting materials from the IPM CRSP Project for their work in the farmer field schools.