"Three years ago, I walked or paid a motor taxi to go to the next two towns to mill rice without a guarantee that I would be able to complete the task within that day. I could not count on going to market that day or return to cook some rice and feed my children. Today, I could put the water to boil while I run to the mill to prepare some pods to feed my children after school."
The Saint Martin Youth Association for Community Development (AJSDC) assures services to the local farmer and expands the local market capacity to provide food for purchase in the area of Saint Martin where they have situated the mill. Initially set to mill corn, this site is now milling, rice and millet as well and is providing a needed service that expands food production and improves quality of life for the consumer and the producer.
Since its inception in 2011, farmers have milled 1,078,335 pounds of cereal (597,170 rice; 267,655 millet and 213,510 corn). In spite of a six month drought in 2014, they transformed and placed 157,058 lbs of the most consumed cereals in the area - rice, millet and corn.
AJSDC is sustainable, having created revenue to sustain itself, hired mechanic operators and managers, expands a rebate to their members and substantially improving their clientele. Currently their consumers are made up of 70% neighborhood farmers rather than the members that made up 100% when they first started. Service impact is beyond the membership of their organization and they continue to grow as an enterprise.
Your investment, the farming organization's efforts and the support that the Lambi Fund has in their partnership has improved conditions of life for their farmers and contributed to the growth of farming in the region. For that, we are more than grateful for your participation.
Thank you for joining us in our steadfast committment to assisting rural famers in changing their lives.
"Three years ago Organization Bon Samaritain, OBS, had a dream of supplying women selling cereals an improved process. They said after twenty years, we still face six hours of walking sometimes to mill our rice, millet and corn. It is our women and children who sometimes spend the night away from home waiting for our rice to be milled, our corn and millet turned to edible cereals. Often we have to take our girls out of school so they can help us carry the goods". said the coordinator of the Association. Yet it is that process that gives us the ability to send the kids to school, but the process deprive them of the school we value so much.
"Well now there is the OBS mill with the help of the Lambi Fund. I have never been so proud to walk in the bank to deposit money in my account.. the same bank that would not lend me a penny. Today our mill is changing all that. Not only I walk in with my head up high, I also have an organization that backs me up, lend me money at 2% and my business as a farmer is paying school, shelter and save for an emergency"
Just to share with you how the mills are maintening the local production of food on the rise: In the first six month of functionning, the mill at OBS has transformed 170,850 pounds of millet, corn and rice into eatable cereal.
During the 20 years of existence, the Lambi Fund of Haiti has partnered with rural peasant organization to establsh 120 mills to produce basic staples and increase the local production of millet, rice, cornmeal.
If I were to note major changes as I walked through Haiti and met with rural farmers, it would have been the number of topping bags of rice in the market place with a foreign language written on them and the local rice of L'estere the heart of the rice production in Haiti, where the open bins of rice are laid in the sun and the farmers complain of how it is difficult to move their products. Yet, the discussion rages on about the insecurity of the food production. We are doing our utmost in our capacity to keep the local food production going strong. Sustainable projects like the Center for Plaintain Propagation (CPP) have nearly eliminated Sigatoka, a chronic disease destroying a major staple in the Haitian diet mainly grown in the Artibonite Region.
The Center for Plantain Propagation (CPP) was created by the Lambi Fund of Haiti in 2008 as a direct response to the spread of sigatoka in the Gwomon region of Latibonit Department in northern Haiti. A leaf spot disease of bananas, sigatoka interferes with plant photosynthesis, reducing yields by 50% or more. Because plantains are a staple product for many Haitians, sigatoka represents a very real threat to food security for a population whose median income is less than $2 per day. With the recognition that solutions to the challenges of food security and basic human development must arise from within, and be owned by, local populations, the Lambi Fund of Haiti has always pursued a strategy of local control wherein grassroots organizations approach Lambi with their projects to which the Lambi Fund brings the necessary resources including financing and training. Because the spread of Black Sigatoka represents a threat to food security for all Haitians, the Lambi Fund of Haiti was forced to adopt a very different approach.
. The goals were as follows:
1: Propagate dissemination of sigatoka-resistant plantains throughout the Gwomon region of Haiti by growing and selling FHIA 21 plantain seedlings and through training of area farmers in the plantain decortication process.
At the end of 2013, the Lambi Fund of Haiti hired InfoDev, a well-established evaluation firm located in Port au Prince, to conduct a comprehensive review of the impact of the first five years of the CPP, and to make recommendations regarding its future direction. In the areas directly impacted by the CPP, the study determined that the land under cultivation with FHIA 21, sigatoka resistant strains of plantains, had increased from 200 hectares to more than 900 hectares. Furthermore, whereas only 25% of the plantains grown in the Gwomon region in 2007, when the CPP was first being considered, were sigatoka-resistant, by 2013, the percentage of FHIA-21 variety plantains had grown to more than 60%.
In addition to the conferred advantage of being sigatoka resistant, the FHIA-21 variety of plantain typically produces up to two additional clusters per plant, significantly increasing the productivity of the average plantain “tree.” A side benefit, then, of the introduce of the FHIA-21 variety of plantain has been to increase overall plantain production and profits to area farmers, while creating new commercial opportunities for area farmers.
With training and technical assistance from the CPP, area farmers have established a facility to produce plantain chips for sale to area orphanages and schools. This has not only provided additional revenue to area farmers, but has improved the diet of area school children who had, heretofore, relied on simple, sugar-based snacks/candies to sustain them during the long school day.
2: Provide training to area farmers on the use of natural, organic pesticides to control pests and plant disease.
While sigatoka represents a more prominent threat to the food security of Haitians, ordinary pests can significantly reduce yields of not only plantains but other crops as well. The CPP has trained area farmers in the use of local products, including hot peppers and sour orange, as well as other local products that may serve as natural pesticides and to help to eliminate other vermin. In 2013, the CPP provided six different types of trainings to some 543 individuals on both decortication as well as organic pesticide treatment. They were also taught how to reduce transmission of plant diseases and pests by, for example, cleaning shoes before entering into their fields. Trainings were also offered in the areas of forestry, nursery prep and management, and the preparation and formation of cooperatives for development.
The following organizations and their membership received training in 2013.
Organization Membership Women Men
AGPGM: Asosyasyon Gwoupman Plantè Gwomon 200 60 140
APS: Asosyasyon Peyizan Sel 180 69 111 APMA: Asosyasyon Plantè Mannyok Akil 163 77 56
Total 543 217 296
CPP undergirds local food production and continues to support the food production making available 6000 new plantain trees thus far in 2014, with a potential of doubling this production by end of December.
Our donors have together supported this effort and we are forever grateful!
It is already a complex issue to assure local food production in rural Haiti. Nearly abandoned to themselves, farmers are collectively working in solidarity to mutually support one another. Yet their resilience is now seriously challenged with climatic events and unexpected changes.
Peasants in Gros Morne combatted Sigatoga, a disease that was destroying the plantain - a main staple in Haiti. With ox-plowing, they mechanized the laboring of the field, increasing the yield as they cultivated more land for planting in time for the rainy season.
Today, these farmers are facing an intensifying problem with clear variation of the climate, the dry season has gotten longer, the expected rain is unpredictable and is shorter. Farmers, now with mechanized support to expand the acreage plowed, must wait on the rain to seed the ground in areas where there are no rivers. As river beds dry up, pumping water that has been an ongoing alternative is less than efficient.
Two weeks ago the community of farmers in Gwomon met with the Lambi Fund to dialogue on alternatives and options in the absence of a national plan for watershed management to support local farming.
The efforts must be supported to expand and support local food production. In this context, the options being considered are as follows:
Advocacy for a long term national plan for watershed management;
Building artesian wells that can supply water for planting;
Building cisterns to retain rainwater when it comes in earnest threatening the stabilization of the region.
It is evident that we, rural Haiti, cannot confront this problem alone. It is only the begining of a multi-faceted issue of climate that is intersectorial when it comes to production of food, reduction of poverty and surviving local in a global climate destabilization context. We need everyone's help to attack an ineffective system that has resulted in reducing our capacity to survive.
Our work in partnership to support local production continues. Lambi Fund has initiated 6 projects to support local food production:
1. IPTKSK, the Peasant Union in Solidarity with Savann Kare (the Artibonite community in which it is located) formed in 2000 to advance the economic interests of the community. IPTKSK has proposed an animal husbandry project involving the purchase of 140 female goats and 20 enhanced male goats. This $52,560 project will include technical training on animal breeding and nursery management, and the planting of 20,000 trees.
2. ACHVRO, the peasant association of Ravin Olyann, worked with Lambi Fund in 2011 to acquire a mill to process sugar cane. ACHVRO will acquire a commercial boiler to expand production and to establish a small microcredit fund to expand business opportunities for women in the community. This $19,275 project includes training in business management and accounting.
3. OPB, the Boula Peasant Organization, located in Haiti’s Southern Department, formed 40 years ago to improve the social and economic conditions within their community and to address deforestation. This $33,680 project will enhance agricultural production through the acquisition of four pairs of cows and three ox plows. The project will include planting 20,000 trees and will involve management training and a workshop in nursery management.
4. SOFALA, Active Women in Solidarity with Lafrazilyè, formed in 2005 to improve the condition of women in their community. SOFALA will expand peanut production and plant 20,000 fruit trees. This $31,590 project includes training in orchard maintenance and the harvesting, processing and transportation of fruit to market as well as instruction in organizational management and development.
5. KOFOKA, Active Women of the Commune of Aken, formed in 2008 to improve the social and economic conditions for the women of Komin Aken. Located in the Southern Department of Haiti, Komin Aken has a population of roughly 8,500 people, 350 of whom are members of KOFOKA; ten of its members are men. KOFOKA seeks to reduce wastage, enhance production of fruits and peanuts, and to increase income to their community.
6. CPP, the Center for Plantain Production, was established to work with the farmers ofGwomon to eradicate Sigatoka, a disease that impacted local plantain production. It began the second phase of development in May, 2014. During the coming year, through a survey of the farmers, the Lambi Fund will seek to identify the needs and define the future role of the CPP. Located in Latibonite, the primary goal in 2014 is to strengthen the organizational capacity of the Center for Plantain Production through reinforcement of its finances while supplying a growing demand for plantain production for other institutions. This should result in the production and sale of a minimum of 30,000 plantain seedlings.
Training and exchange of knowledge and information are important organizational capacity building tools.
Providing educational tools to the different sectors of Haitian society ,including youth, adults and professionals, represents a formidable task. It is also an important element in the Lambi Fund’s work with grassroots organizations. We often talk about the number of units of grains harvested and processed and not about the project specific skills and basic organizational management tools needed to be sustainable. Our workshops include: Project Management, organizational capacity building, farming techniques, rights and responsibilities in building democracy; equity parity and access. Workshops participants gain skills that go beyond project management and operations. They also offer the tools needed to think about the social context and share a vision of change as well as a plans of action charting the course for change and their community’s socio-economic transformation.
Realizing the cost incurred in such trainings, Lambi as a matter of policy is continuously creating opportunity for training trainers who become model instructing their peers. Recently the Lambi Fund has also encouraged and supported another strategy of mutual help ( called relay) by identifying organizations with the capacity to become the source of information and training to other grassroots organizations. The trainee can attend workshops offered in through one of the projects financed by the Lambi Fund or through another organization which partners with the Lambi Fund. These workshops are usually held when the project is about to start, Lambi wants to be sure that the organization has had the opportunity to acquire the right tools and techniques which will enable them to manage the project in ways that will ensure sustainability benefiting its members and the community.
2013 into 2014 was a successful year of skill transfer for our ruralpartners:
Type of training Number of days # of participants Objectives realized
Animal Husbandry/Goat breeding/ 10 327 Five organization began their herd with trained Vet tech, pharmacy developing their base for revenue and income to combat poverty in their community
Community Credit/financial management 18 210 7 organizations received specific instructions to manage credit for storing food, credit forwomen
Agroforestry 15 214 5 organizations trained in techniques of banana agroforestry including specific irrigation, ox-plowing Environment Creating nurseries 30 90 7 community organizations benefited in getting nurseries set up for reforestation activities that involved their whole community and for one organization KOKAPEG their goal to replenish their colonial coffee stock planting 440,000 coffee trees and 45,000 ombrage trees for the coffee.
We are very pleased to be able to educate and train our partners for their own growth and sustainability. We thank you for your active participation.
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