|The team inserts feather plucking fingers.|
The concept, how it works, and successes are explained. Makouti identifies willing participants and provide them with the appropriate training. For a one time nominal fee Makouti agrees to provide participants with a portable poultry housing unit, necessary feed and equipment, and twenty baby chicks. When the birds reach an ideal marketing weight the participants are allowed to sell as many birds as they choose and keep what they want, but must reimburse Makouti a nominal percentage based on the potential market value of the entire flock. In exchange Makouti provides them with another twenty chicks and continues as long as everyone is satisfied. This tends to repeat on a six week cycle and provides a very lucrative income for the female farmers. It has been so successful that some of the women have been able to diversify into other agriculture endeavors.
|A typical chicken project beginner kit|
Prior to this visit, Benito [FTF-Haiti Coordinator] expressed the need to develop a prototype electric motor driven chicken plucker. I agreed to bring a manual and 150 rubber defeather fingers, with hopes we could find the remaining required materials in Haiti; what a challenge that turned out to be. During four days of shopping we were able to acquire the following materials: lumber, plastic barrel, metal drum lid, hardware, and one pulley. In between shopping sprees we were able to complete the following three phases: build the wooden frame work, cut the barrel and install the rubber fingers, and insert the fingers in the rotating, metal defeather disc. While we were unable to acquire all the parts (electric motor, v-belt, and etc.) to complete the project, the team understands what is needed and how to complete the prototype; we basically ran out of time.
Why such a project and so much effort? Benito explained how these women can sell these mature chickens for $5-$10 U.S. If they were to sell eight at $8 each that would be $64 of revenue generated every six weeks. May not seem like much, but in a country where the “suggested” minimum wage may be about $4-$6 per day, $64 makes for a nice supplemental income and the birds offer a meal or two for each participant’s family. Basically, it provides economic opportunities for women in a country where unemployment levels exceed forty percent. Given chicken is one of the most trusted and consumed forms of meat in Haiti, you begin to realize there is a substantial demand/opportunity.
|Phase 3 of construction completed|
The FTF Program would like to thank Robert and the Alabama Cooperative Extension System for enabling these efforts through Farmer to Farmer.