Our programs are not chosen of our own design. We conduct surveys in country to determine the needs o the community, we speak with community leaders and the farmers to ascertain their needs. These programs are developed with respect to traditions and customs of the people while looking for ways to improve and modernize the work they wish to do. Our model farm includes various demonstration plots, which show farmers the differences between the traditional methods of production and good agricultural practices.
Seen here to the left is the result after supplying the plantains, seed germinator, training and meeting space to plant over 10,000 plantain trees in Thomonde. Over 36 farmers welcomed the opportunity to participate. They will not only share the harvest but more importantly will benefit fit from the young "outshoots" called creoles so as to bolster farms of their own.
Our beekeeping program trains local beekeepers in suitable beekeeping methods and expose farmers to the financial benefits of honey production. But more importantly, beans, tomatoes, onions and carrots, not to mention the hundreds of other vegetables, oilseeds and fruits are dependent upon bees for pollination. And livestock that are dependent upon bee-pollinated forage plants, such as clover. No human activity or ingenuity could ever replace the work of bees. These farmer will learn how easy it is to help or hinder their effectiveness as crop pollinators and how much is lost by their loss.
Access to modern tools like tractors and their implements allow these farmers to accomplish in 3 hours work that would otherwise take 3 days. They learn how to operate and maintain the equipment but most importantly gain access to using these tools on thier own farms
Chronic food insecurity remains an issue throughout the country. Nationally, between 2.5 and 3.3 million Haitians are estimated to be food insecure. One third of newborn babies are born underweight. Acute undernutrition among children under 5 is 5 percent and a third of them suffer from chronic undernutrition. Fifty percent of pregnant women and two thirds of children under 5 are affected by anemia. One in five Haitians dies before the age of 40. We conducted a food insecurity survey prior to launching a vegetable garden program. 60 families were assisted with seeds and training to start a vegetable garden on their own land.
Sponsoring an animal to a farmer has unique advantages. Farmers who participate in this program also gain access to training on proper care, quarterly visits of a vet, access to over 60 acres of pasture land and most importantly ownership of that animals offspring in the first year.
Egg & Poultry Farming
Most farmers in Haiti raise poultry in free range fashion but the farmers also do not house the birds and feed the birds table scraps in addition to whatever the birds find on their own. In addition the farmers do not have access to any preventive medication for the birds. Unfortunately, during the seasonal rainy periods, farmers lose many birds from such basic diseases and the surviving flock is often so weak that egg production and bird size/weight is low at point of sale. This program provides training on proper care, access to these meds and a coop for each brood.
Even after overcoming countless challenges, most farmers are ill equipped on the proper care, packaging, transportation access and negotiation skills of bringing their products to market. Building capacity in these areas is no small challenge, as with all our programs we invite experts in these fields to develop programs that make sense in country and are sustainable long after our work has come to a close.
All our programs place large value on the intellectual advancement of those we serve. We work to encourage an industrious problem solving spirit and a Socratic method. So our programs are more than just initiatives they also involve empowerment and mentor-ship - an often overlooked role of any really sustainable program.