A Haitian Farmer shows off his healthy crops
Day-by-day, Haitians throughout the countryside are working to expand local food production in their communities. The movement to strengthen food systems and local markets are innovative and varied. One such organization that is lighting a spark in their region is The Youth Association of Sel (AJS). The 255 youth members are working in partnership with the Lambi Fund of Haiti, to build a grain storage facility and launch a community credit fund. The grain silo they are building will store surplus grains and seeds for use in times of need – droughts, natural disasters and in between growing seasons. The storage facility will also be a place to store Haitian Creole seeds. With this silo, AJS members are working to increase access to high quality, local seeds that they can share and sell to one another at an affordable rate. Just as importantly, the food storage aspect of the facility is working to create a safety net for the community – making food and grains available when its needed most.
In order to successfully manage and operate the storage facility and community credit fund, members of AJS attended workshops administered by Lambi Fund teaching them grain storage management and operation, bookkeeping, the issuing of loans and how to manage a community credit fund.
To date, 50 low-interest loans have been issued to members who are using the funds to purchase more seeds, tools and organic fertilizers for growing more peanuts, peas and corn in the area. One recipient noted that investments from the loan allowed him to cultivate 25% more land. Each repayment schedule has been paid on time - and since AJS manages the credit fund and interest earnings stay within the community, the fund is growing. In fact, AJS members are planning to issue an additional 19 loans this fall to farmers in preparation for the upcoming planting season. The silo is currently under construction and committees have been formed that will be responsible for managing the food storage unit and distributing the grains and seeds in an equitable manner.
Thanks to your steadfast support innovative projects like this are cropping up throughout Haiti and changing communities.