Our goal is to assist Haitians living in the Bateys in the Dominican Republic to overcome their permanent dependency on foreign giveouts and donations. ( A Batey is a shantytown camp where former sugar cane cutters live). By setting up this Aquaponic farm, they will be able to produce food ( i.e. fish and vegetables) for their survival and sell the surplus organic production to the surrounding areas all while earning an income from the sale of their products.
When the World market moved away from sugar cane production to high fructose to corn syrup, the DR goverment moved to privatise the sugar industry and closed the struggling sugarcane plantations without addressing the problem of the Haitians who were no longer needed as sugarcane cutters. These Haitians suddenly became an underclass, a group wihout rights to education, access to healthcare, or to any other social benefits and no jobs. A group of permanent beggars.
This is a project (Cooperative) that is intended to allow these people and their families to achieve some meaningful economic independence. Being experienced in farming, this project will rent land on which they will set up an Aquaponic System of production to produce fish and vegetables along with some other products that can be grown on the farm for their food survival and for sale as Organic products to the surrounding communities of Puerto Plata where there is a large amount of expats.
The long-term impact is multiple. First, this project can be replicated and serve as a model for other bateys. There are hundred of Bateys in the Dominican Republic where sugar cane cutters face the same situation. The Aquaponic farm can be expanded to become more productive as it incorporates other sources of revenue as it expands into other organic products. It will function as a cooperative and these people will regain their dignity as they become owners of their farm.
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