Why is Small-Scale Farming Important?

Why are small-scale farmers so important to ending poverty and hunger in Haiti? About three out of four workers in Haiti depend on agriculture to make a living. Almost half of them are women, who are responsible for marketing and storing crops, while men are responsible for planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops. For both men and women, working on a farm is not a guarantee of a decent income. In fact, Haiti’s small-scale farmers are often some of the most food insecure in the country. In order to help end hunger, we must make sure that poor farmers have access to the resources and knowledge they need to feed their families, improve their communities, and flourish.

Small-scale farmers from around the world came together in 2007 and vowed to work towards “A world where all peoples, nations, and states are able to determine their own food producing systems and policies that provide every one of us with good quality, adequate, affordable, healthy, and culturally appropriate food.” Together we can make changes to create a world where small-scale farmers in Haiti can achieve this goal, and everyone has enough to eat.

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A Natural Fit: Premier Equipment Ltd. Supports Farmers in Haiti

The owners and management of Premier Equipment were looking for a cause they could support, one that would also connect employees to how they can make a difference for others in need. In addition, rather than spreading our charitable support amongst many different charities throughout the year, we decided we could make a greater impact by focusing on one single charity that resonated with our values and objectives.

In September 2010, we chose FIDA/pcH. We liked the fact that FIDA/pcH worked in the development of rural and farming practices in a country of need. Our employees (as well as the customers we serve) are immersed in farming practices in Ontario. We believed that exposing them to an area of need in another part of the world, with similar but different challenges and approaches, would heighten the sense and significance of the contribution we are making. FIDA/pcH also challenged us to visit the project ourselves to see our “investment” at work. That was an important factor. By seeing the impact of our charitable dollars we believed the life experience of our employees would be broadened and their everyday work would have greater meaning.

The more profitable we are as a company, the more we are able to support the lives of farming men and women in Haiti. Choosing an organization like FIDA/pcH is a good fit for the employees and customers of an agriculturally based business such as Premier Equipment.

by Ian Verbeek, Chief Sales Officer, Premier Equipment Ltd.


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Productive Agricultural Cooperatives Duchity

To improve the socioeconomic situation of community members through the creation of productive agricultural cooperatives in Duchity. Three agricultural cooperatives will be established in the community of Duchity. More than 600 members will receive training in literacy, improved agricultural techniques, improved environmental practices, management of the cooperative, and management of small enterprise. New community leadership will emerge and local women’s groups will be reinforced. Agricultural output and small enterprise will diversify and increase. Agricultural and capital credit will be granted to the cooperatives. Average incomes of cooperative members are expected to increase by 40% by the end of this project.

Cost: $954,147 USD
Term: Four years
Funder/Partner: Premier Equipment, Emergency Relief and Development Overseas (ERDO), Semiahmoo Rotary Club, Rotary Club of Waterloo, Rotary Club of Cambridge North, Rotary Club of Guelph-Trillium, Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) through ERDO, CCCI.
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Project CATR (Coopérative Agricole de Terrier Rouge)

To improve the socioeconomic situation of community members in Terrier Rouge through the support of productive agricultural cooperatives. From July to September 2010, farmers organized into rotating work groups and prepared and planted three hectares of farmland. 22 garden beds were prepared for market vegetables, including cabbage and peppers. 121 cooperative members received training in management of the cooperative and cultivation of cabbage, bean, corn, and leek crops. Cooperative leaders received training in accounting and bookkeeping. Crops were harvested and sold, and plans were prepared for future planting seasons. 101 members participated in a General Assembly in which two new members were elected to the Board of Directors and one new member was elected to the Monitoring Committee. The Monitoring and Administrative Committees also received training appropriate to their responsibilities.

Cost: $40,000 CAD per year
Term: Ongoing
Funder/Parnter: Zanmi CATR
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Enhanced Livestock Health and Production Capacity in Rural Cooperatives

To increase the capacity of pcH in the area of basic animal health services by providing training to its members and to develop and promote the use of best practices in livestock health in rural Haitian cooperatives through training of trainers. pcH staff received training in community-based animal health work and have become more proficient as trainers and administrators of best practices for livestock health and production management. pcH staff have gained increased access to course materials and resources that will assist them in training cooperative members in livestock health and production techniques. As a result, pcH-supported cooperatives and their members gained increased access to trained personnel delivering agricultural and veterinary services. Cooperative members have increased their knowledge and skill in livestock health and production management. Click here to find out more about ISCA’s partnership with FIDA/pcH in Haiti.

Cost: $25,000 CAD
Term: 2012
Funder/Partner: University of Prince Edward Island Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) and International Sustainable Community Assistance (ISCA)
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Saint-Marc Cholera Prevention and Treatment Project

To decrease preventable deaths due to cholera, diarrheal illness, and other hygiene related illnesses for farming families in Haut Saint-Marc. 300 women and men from three local cooperatives were trained in basic hygiene practices such as hand washing and water purification. Training also focused on building and maintaining latrines that are appropriate to the local community, and basic assessment and treatment skills for diarrheal illness. Local cooperative members in Haut Saint-Marc, an area particularly hard-hit by the cholera epidemic, enhanced their skills in the prevention and treatment of cholera. They gained increased capacity to protect their own general health and to advocate for their health needs and the greater systems that affect their well-being.

Cost: $63,000 USD
Term: 2012
Funder/Partner: Emergency Relief and Development Overseas (ERDO) and Dr. Becky Eleck
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Building Local Agricultural and Agro-Forestry Capacity in Duchity

To facilitate the development of a 20 year operational plan to support agricultural and agro-forestry production in Duchity, located in the department of Grand Anse in the south of the country. Forests without Borders staff, pcH staff and members of three cooperatives in Duchity were trained in how to develop agro-forestry systems for the short, medium, and long term. Training focused on plant and tree identification, nursery production techniques, plantation establishment, and tending and installing biogas generation systems. pcH staff gained the capacity to continue the process once this project ended. pcH staff and community members in Duchity also learned to train other trainers, disseminate knowledge and skills, and continue to build in-country professional agro-forestry capacity in Haiti.

Cost: $25,000 CAD
Term: 2012
Funder/Partner: Forests Without Borders
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Project Coopérative des Planteurs de Gorgette (CPG)

To improve food security and livelihoods for members of the Coopérative des Planteurs de Gorgette (CPG) in Duchity through support for food production and literacy. 748 cooperative members received literacy training in seven different local literacy centers in Gorgette. 120 farmers were trained in organic composting techniques, and 150 farmers were trained in organic pest management techniques. 100 farmers received training and credit for bean cultivation, an important regional crop. Through literacy training, cooperative members became empowered to participate in cooperative activities and improve the functioning and the profitability of the cooperative. Through agricultural training and credit, farmers were able to increase food production and food availability in the region.

Cost: $25,000 CAD
Term: 2012-2013
Funder/Partner: World Accord
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Lafiteau Community Motivation Mission

To motivate community members in Lafiteau to participate actively in a respectful dialogue process and to assist them in overcoming obstacles and constraints in order to participate fully in the social and economic development of their community. Community members in Lafiteau analyzed their daily lives and learned to identify factors of dependency and resistance within their community. They learned to understand the dynamics of different community groups and how they function, prioritized community needs and resources, developed ideas for concrete collective action, and worked towards the socioeconomic development of Lafiteau. The community is now prepared to work together in a larger development project to create a lasting improvement in the lives of community members in Lafiteau.

Cost: $62,000 USD
Term: 2012
Funder/Partner: Emergency Relief and Development Overseas (ERDO)
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Agroforestry Means Growing Together

Forests Without Borders discusses why they chose FIDA/pcH as a partner in agroforestry in Haiti.
Videography by Ross Velton.

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