|Coffee growing in the shade|
Cooperatives allow farmers to work together, share tips and strategies, and organize policies for the whole sector. By pooling their resources, smallholder coffee farmers are better able to access financing, obtain technical assistance on improved farming practices, and sell their product at higher prices. In addition to in-the-field experience and training, Farmer-to-Farmer also finds volunteers who are able to build the organizational capacity of these small organizations to strengthen their abilities. Capacity is about growth: growth of the individual in knowledge, skills and experience, so that they are capable of setting, strengthening, and maintaining their own development goals.
|Lohof meeting with cooperative members|
|Farmers are experimenting with different|
varieties of coffee beans that are more durable
Cooperatives with weaker structures and untrained management are often limited in their ability to overcome other obstacles. For example, investors and donors are often unwilling to provide loans or grants to cooperatives that have no accounting records. A lack of working capital dramatically limits the amount of coffee the cooperatives are able to buy from its members and the sell to consumers. Farmer-to-Farmer and Makouti have linked the coffee cooperatives with Haiti Coffee, a California-based buyer which seeks to import as much 50,000 pounds of coffee per year. However, the cooperatives have a combined total of only 6,000 pounds of coffee to sell.
|IWCA- Haiti representatives|
|IWCA-Haiti Executive Committee|
Forming an IWCA chapter in Haiti will empower and encourage women, providing them with the confidence, skills and organizational structure to develop policies and programs that reflect their needs and interests. The chapter will also seeks to have a positive, long-term impact on rebuilding Haiti's coffee sector, as ensuring a fair, gender-inclusive value chain will help improve quality and production, attract international buyers, and ultimately, increase farmer incomes. Women will be able to control and secure resources for themselves, while continuing to share information and collaborate with other organizations working towards the same goal of improving coffee production in Haiti.
Significant progress was made in improving organizational capacity in Haiti, primarily due to the hard work and commitment from the farmers in the cooperatives and IWCA- Haiti. With continued support from Farmer-to-Farmer, these individuals can develop into strong leaders driving positive change in their lives, families and coffee-growing communities across Haiti.From November 16-December 11, F2F program partners are sharing their knowledge and experience providing technical assistance to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses, service providers, and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries. As aligned with Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative, F2F works to support inclusive agriculture sector growth, facilitate private sector engagement in the agriculture sector, enhance development of local capacity and promote climate-smart development. Volunteer assignments address host-led priorities to expand economic growth that increases incomes and improves access to nutritious food. This blog series aims to capture and share this program experience.