Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Look Back: Haiti Horticulture

Farmers bringing their products to market
Farmer-to-Farmer’s horticulture projects in Haiti have sought to improve production yields and profitability for small- and medium-scale fruit and vegetable producers. Improved production has been achieved through fundamental activities like conservation, fertility, and pest management. Building on these accomplishments, farmers have then been able improve post-harvest handling, processing, packaging and labeling, and market linkages. Some challenges still remain, including transportation, but farmers are seeing impacts from the technical assistance they received.

From 2008 to 2013, 29 horticulture volunteers engaged in assignments ranging from permaculture training and seedling management to pest control and small-scale organic farming. The program has seen some excellent results. For example, the formation of the Lory Producers Association, located in the small farming community of Lory in northern Haiti, was a result of F2F and Makouti staff’s efforts in the area. From its beginnings in 2011 with 10 members, it has since grown to 50 members.

 
Budding gardener with her plant
The Lory Producers Association received a number of volunteers. One of these was Master Gardener Tom Syverud from Wisconsin who worked with farmers on organic production and the development of seedling nurseries. Other volunteers provided training in a wide array of topics related to fruit and vegetable production. Training focused on ways to make community agriculture economically sustainable, including exploring micro-enterprise opportunities. The group also benefited from some donations – both cash and in-kind – from US individuals or groups that helped provide seeds and tools. The Lory Producers Association has adopted many volunteer recommendations and is seeing results. From 2011 to 2013, annual gross sales increased to $31,734, which is a significant increase for a group this size. 

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