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Fried Green(house) Tomatoes

From left to right: Christopher Barden of  Worldwide Farmers Exchange with trainees Ilgorbek Kuchkarov and Fabio Ferreira in Kapalua, Maui.
From left to right: Christopher Barden of Worldwide Farmers Exchange with trainees Ilgorbek Kuchkarov and Fabio Ferreira in Kapalua, Maui.

What do you get when you put an Uzbekistanian and a Brazilian in a greenhouse together?

The perfect tomato, thanks to Worldwide Farmers Exchange.

Uzbekistan native Ilgorbek Kuchkarov and Brazilian Fabio Ferreira may be from two different continents, but they found themselves training in the same greenhouse in Maui, Hawaii, as part of one of WFE’s programs.

Ilgorbek was recommended to the program by a partner in Uzbekistan, a country known for producing large quantities of greenhouse tomatoes. He arrived in Kapalua in 2008 and began his internship with WFE, where he focused his studies on greenhouse tomato and open air herb production. After completing the WFE program, he went on to earn his MBA from the University of Kansas.

Like Ilgorbek, Fabio also heard about WFE’s program through an in-country partner. While attending the University Federal of Goiás in Brazil, Fabio was recruited by a WFE partner from the University of Vicosa. Shortly thereafter, he joined Ilgorbek on the same U.S. farm, where he perfected his English and trained as a greenhouse tomato technician sorting, boxing, categorizing, and shipping tomatoes. He also had responsibilities in conjunction with quality control, as well as hands-on experience with the tomato vines themselves: walking the rows, inspecting, picking, pruning, vine management, and preparing, planting, and fertilizing the soils.

Where are they today?

A self-proclaimed fitness enthusiast, Ilgorbek is currently a student in Kansas, where he owns a trucking company that transports agricultural goods and other products, and remains in close contact with WFE.

Fabio works in crop protection for Syngenta in Jataí, Brazil, where he continues to further his agricultural career and hopes to raise a family someday.

Both Ilgorbek and Fabio credit Worldwide Farmers Exchange with helping them to reach their goals professionally and personally.