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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog


Timberland Is Helping Rebuild Haiti’s Cotton Industry

[Photo: Thomas Noreille / SFA]REPRINT > Ben Schiller for Fast Company

Can using blockchain to verify cotton as organic help revive the industry in Haiti?

Haiti hasn’t grown cotton in decades. Its once-abundant industry collapsed in the 1970s due to government corruption, economic mismanagement, and U.S. embargoes. But now, thanks to a project involving thousands of smallholder farmers, apparel brands like Timberland, and a blockchain network, it could be set for a comeback. Within a few years, if all goes to plan, the island will be supplying millions of pounds of organic cotton for shoes, shirts, and other clothing sold in U.S. stores.

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China is re-assigning 60,000 troops – to plant trees

PLA troops plant trees in central China. Photo: PLA Daily

REPRINT > Asia Times Staff

As the People's Liberation Army looks to downsize, significant numbers of soldiers are being tasked with non-military missions.

China will plant new forests covering an area of 84,000 square kilometers, roughly the size of Ireland, in 2018, as it aims to increase forest coverage to 23% of total landmass by the end of the decade, China Daily reported last week. The current forested area stands at 21%.

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Smallholder Farmers Have Reason to Smile in Haiti

Haitian smallholder Nerlande Dautarn holds a basket of cotton she and other farmers harvested at the
SFA cotton field trial site near Gonaives, Haiti. Photo credit: Thomas Noreille / SFA.
Sometimes a smile can convey more than all the technical reports and excel forecast sheets combined. That was certainly the case last week at a cotton field trial site in Haiti as smallholder farmer Nerlande Dautarn showed off what she and her fellow farmers had just harvested. "This is a great day for Haiti," she beamed, adding "my parents and my grandparents grew cotton not far from here. Now I can tell my children cotton is back after a long time away."

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Haitian Smallholder Farmers Set to Benefit from Blockchain Technology

Background photo shows the SFA cotton field trial site near Gonaives, Haiti, where 15 varieties are being
tested prior to large scale cultivation of cotton by smallholder farmers starting this summer.

While the Bitcoin bubble seems to be deflating almost daily, its underlying 'blockchain' technology is being hailed as a breakthrough in rendering data unhackable. This blockchain innovation is now being tested for an astonishing range of applications, everything from improving the security of cloud data storage to preventing the theft of online identities. And Haiti is on the cutting edge of this testing with the announcement of a Blockchain Cotton Project that will benefit the country's smallholder farmers.

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Haitian Farmers Get Early Christmas Gift That Keeps on Giving

Livestock earned with tree currency arrive near the southern Haitian community of Laborde.

Christmas came early for a group of farmers in southern Haiti with the arrival earlier this month of 22 goats, 9 cows and 5 bulls. The entire community greeted the livestock with much cheering, clapping and more than a few tears of joy. The delivery represented a major milestone in recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in October of 2016.

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TEDx Talk - Trees are Financing a Farming Revolution in Haiti

You are invited to watch my recent TEDx talk on the work of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance in Haiti. This short video tells the unlikely story of how a humanitarian worker, an agronomist and a shoe company joined forces to plant some trees and ended up launching an agricultural revolution. Find out how trees have now become a form of currency that smallholder farmers are using to grow more food, combat climate change and empower women... with implications far beyond the borders of Haiti

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Sustainable Cotton Raises Funds for Puerto Rico

LaRhea Pepper (right), Managing  Director of Textile Exchange, presenting a check to Yanna Muriel
Mohan, Agricultural Manager of Visit Rico, with Timote Georges (left), Executive Director of the
Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) and Hugh Locke (second from left), President of the SFA and
President of Impact Farming. 

On October 11, 2017 leading figures in the sustainable cotton field from around the world were attending the Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference in Washington, D.C. and heard a heart-wrenching first-person report from farmer Yanna Muriel Mohan about the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria on organic smallholder farmers in Puerto Rico.

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Connecting Cotton and Trees Signals New Hope for Farmers in Haiti

The reintroduction of cotton to Haiti began with seeds planted in SFA field trials by (left to right) Thony
Thomas, smallholder farmer; Atlanta McIlraith, Timberland; Pierre Marie Du Mény, Haitian Minister of
Commerce and Industry; Hugh Locke, SFA; Timote Georges, SFA; Nerlande Dautarn, smallholder farmer;
Rémillot Léveillé, noted agronomist who is known as the “father of cotton” in Haiti. The tree seedlings,
transplanted elsewhere after this ceremony, symbolize the unique connection being made between trees
and cotton in the SFA model. Photo credit: SFA/Thomas Noreille.

Cotton is back in Haiti after a 30-year absence, having once been the country's fourth largest agricultural export. Global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland, the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) and Haiti's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Pierre Marie Du Mény, have together announced the reintroduction of cotton as an anchor crop to help revitalize farming, boost the economy and contribute to environmental restoration through being linked to tree planting.

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