Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Haiti and FTF: 6 Months after the Earthquake

July 12 marked the 6 month mark since the earthquake in Haiti. The Farmer to Farmer Program is not a relief program, however it has contributed to earthquake recovery in Haiti in several ways. The main way the Program contributes is indirectly, by continuously supporting farmers in their efforts to improve and increase  production, processing, marketing, and sales. Both food and income are at the top of the list of needs in Haiti. Partners' FTF Program is up and running full speed since May and continuing its work.

After the earthquake Makouti Agro Enterprise, a local Haitian cooperative agribusiness with whom Partners' FTF volunteers collaborate closely, was able to supply food for many in the north of Haiti, often free of charge to those in desperate need. With training from FTF volunteers over the years, Makouti operates a successful rabbit production facility near Cap Haitien and its members include producers and farmers throughout the country. The meat provides a much needed source of protein. Six months later, Makouti is negotiating 3 contracts which would potentially supply several thousand rabbits to Port au Prince. Makouti also works with the International Organization for Migration (United Nations), and our field staff report that they've had so much success with the rabbits that they are running out of space to keep them. (Photo, taken 4 days prior to the earthquake:  some Makouti members and farmers meet to discuss rabbit raising after having constructed new cages.)

Additionally, given the special circumstances the USAID FTF Program also funded the trips of three trauma counselors from Counselors Without Borders to travel to Haiti with Partners of the Americas. The counselors provided specialized training to various groups as well as FTF staff in recognizing and treating trauma symptoms following a natural disaster. Click here to read a recent report about their visit.

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