Haiti

Increase food security with improved and environmentally friendly farming practices

Poverty and low yields from agriculture have led to great food insecurity for the people of Haiti. Extensive deforestation and climate change have also contributed to this. Caritas supports small farming families in improving their cultivation methods and increase their harvest. It organises training on environmentally friendly farming practices, engages in reforestation, and supports the diversification of incomes and strong farmers’ organisations.

 

Country / Region / Place
Haiti, Département de l’Ouest, Commune of Petit-Goâve, Delatte (5th and 7th communal sections of Petit-Goâve)


Target group
7'285 direct beneficiaries:

  • 1450 smallholder families (5 persons per family = 7,250 people)
  • 35 experts (= 35 people)

37,000 indirect beneficiaries who live in the project region.


Funding requirement
898,120 Swiss francs


Project duration
01.07.2018 to 30.06.2021


Project number
P180050


Project objective
Smallholder families obtain higher yields thanks to improved and environmentally friendly agricultural production.


Project coordinator
Andrea Reitze, Tel: 041 419 22 42, areitzenot shown@caritasto make life hard for spam bots.ch

 
 

Background information

Haiti is one of the world’s least developed countries and the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. More than six million of the country’s 10.4 million inhabitants, or 59 per cent of the population, live below the poverty threshold of USD 2.41 a day. The country’s economy is weak, and the political system is very unstable. The population suffers from widespread violence and unemployment; malnutrition and undernourishment are widespread. Moreover, the situation is made worse by regular natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods which leave massive destruction in their wake. 

The main causes of food insecurity in the country are the population’s poverty as well as low revenues from agricultural production. This is aggravated by the great fragility of the ecosystem. Due to massive deforestation, only two per cent of Haiti’s total land area still has tree cover.

The low forest cover has a serious impact on the environment:

it leads to soil erosion, unstable mountainsides and landslides, as well as mudslides and floods, which in turn have devastating consequences for agriculture.  The soils are washed away. Unstable climatic conditions lead to low harvest yields. Consequently, the domestically produced food is only enough to feed half of the Haitian population. To provide the other half of the population with food, Haiti imports the same amount of foodstuffs as it produces in the country itself. 

The problems described above also affect the population in the commune of Petit-Goâve in the south-west of Haiti. The region is characterised by steep slopes which are almost completely deforested. The small-scale farmers in the project area are aware that a highly resource-depleting agriculture would lead to further yield losses. Caritas Switzerland is working with the local partner organisation Concert Action in the town of Delatte in Petit-Goâve and supports the smallholder families in the application and implementation of environmentally friendly farming practices with increased productivity.

 

What are we doing?

The goal of the project is to enable smallholder families in Delatte to obtain better yields thanks to improved and environmentally friendly farming practices. Caritas Switzerland supports a total of 2,450 smallholder families who live mainly from subsistence agriculture and are organised in farmers organisations.
As part of the project, 270 farmers have the opportunity to take part in training sessions in which they can learn about environmentally friendly measures, for example  which tree species can best prevent landslides. Further training is also offered to 350 small farmers on the effects of climate change and how to cope with them. An additional workshop for 270 participants deals primarily with planting techniques.

Another important part of the project is reforestation. To this end, a total of 191,000  forest and fruit tree seedlings are planted in tree nurseries.  With the aim of spreading new, locally unknown varieties in the project area, some of the seedlings are planted in training fields.  The seedlings produced are given to interested smallholder farmers against payment of a small amount. The beneficiaries of the plants are supported by regular visits from agricultural experts to their fields. A total of 760 smallholder families benefit from the reforestation. 
To protect against soil erosion, grass buffer strips are planted on the mountain slopes (see picture above). It is planned to establish several green strips at a total length of 70,000 metres. 

In a previous project in Petit-Goâve, it was found that the cultivation of certain vegetable and spice varieties as well as rabbit breeding were a popular and profitable source for diversifying people’s income. These small business ventures are also supported in this project. Particular attention is given in the creation of small vegetable gardens to supporting women and women’s organisations. The aim is to promote women’s autonomy, and for women’s organisations to act as pioneers for a productive and environmentally friendly economy. Promoting rabbit breeding is particularly favourable since they can be fed with the plants from the grass buffer strips. To ensure the sustained success of small animal breeding, the project is also training ten para-professional vets. In total, 160 families are supported in breeding rabbits.

Another project component supports 30 potential producers in the local production of high-quality seeds. This measure makes a significant contribution to ensuring  the food sovereignty of the local smallholder families.
An important part of the project is the support given to existing farmers’ organisations, as well as linking them with organisations in other parts of the country. In particular, this is to promote the exchange of information on the topic of organic farming.

 

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IBAN CH69 0900 0000 6000 7000 4
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