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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog


Expanding the Mandate and Reach of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance

A busy autumn season of announcements for Haiti's Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) set the stage for the launch of our new U.S.-based strategic partner, Impact Farming.

At the Clinton Global Initiative in September it was announced that the SFA and Timberland had fulfilled their joint pledge of planting 5 million trees in Haiti in 5 years. While making the announcement, Chelsea Clinton also highlighted the exciting news that the SFA will have its first commercial product on the shelves at more than 400 Whole Foods Markets in the U.S. beginning in January. It is an all-natural energy shot being produced by Kuli Kuli and made with Haitian smallholder-grown moringa that has been processed into powder by women farmers.

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Could Superfood Help Save Haiti's Forests?

REPRINT > by Sarah McColl for Takepart

Moringa company Kuli Kuli wants to help to reforest the island by developing a moringa economy.

Haiti is the most impoverished country in the northern hemisphere, and trees, or the lack thereof, are part of the problem.

After centuries of agricultural exploitation and the population’s demand for charcoal and fuel wood, 98 percent of Haiti’s landscape is deforested, leaving the country vulnerable to environmental disasters. In 2008, four storms in quick succession resulted in flooding responsible for 800 deaths and $1 billion in damage. The massive earthquake that same year killed more than 220,000 people.

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Deforestation and Drought

A tractor on a wheat plantation that used to be virgin Amazon rain forest in Brazil.
Credit: Nacho Doce/Reuters

REPRINT > Jim Robbins for New York Times

LIKE California, much of Brazil is gripped by one of the worst droughts in its history. Huge reservoirs are bone dry and water has been rationed in São Paulo, a megacity of 20 million people; in Rio; and in many other places.

Drought is usually thought of as a natural disaster beyond human control. But as researchers peer deeper into the Earth’s changing bioclimate — the vastly complex global interplay between living organisms and climatic forces — they are better appreciating the crucial role that deforestation plays.

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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Travels North From Haiti… to South by Southwest

Filmmaker Gabriel London, SFA co-founders Hugh Locke and Timote Georges, and Timberland’s Margaret
Morey-Reuner in a panel presentation following the premiere of Kombit: The Cooperative at SXSW Eco in
Austin, Texas on October 5th, 2015.

A new documentary film chronicling the efforts of Timberland and the Smallholders Farmers Alliance (SFA) to plant 5 million trees in Haiti had its premiere this week at SXSW Eco 2015 in Austin, Texas. 

Kombit: The Cooperative, produced by Found Object films and directed by award-winning filmmaker Gabriel London, tells the unlikely story of how a bootmaking company and a grassroots farmers’ cooperative program in Haiti joined forces in an innovative private/public partnership with the goal of planting 5 million trees in 5 years in a country that now has less than 2% remaining tree cover

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Global Count Reaches 3 Trillion Trees

Data from more than 400,000 hectares of surveyed forest were used to produce a planetary tree count.
Photo: David Zeleny
REPRINT > Rachel Ehrenberg for Nature

There are roughly 3 trillion trees on Earth — more than seven times the number previously estimated — according to a tally by an international team of scientists. The study also finds that human activity is detrimental to tree abundance worldwide. Around 15 billion trees are cut down each year, the researchers estimate; since the onset of agriculture about 12,000 years ago, the number of trees worldwide has dropped by 46%.

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Haitian Smallholder Farmers Rise to the Challenge

Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation (center) with Matthew Brown, CEO of Fonkoze (left),
Hugh Locke, President and Co-founder of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance and Margaret Morey-Reuner,
Director of Strategic Partnerships & Business Development, Timberland.

Three programs involving the work of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) in Haiti were highlighted by Chelsea Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) taking place in New York this week.

These programs covered a wide range from tree planting to adult literacy training to the new moringa superfood, with the connecting thread being the smallholder farmers of Haiti. 

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Haiti Drought Cuts Harvests, Raises Prices, Food Crisis Looms: WFP

Street market in Haiti. Photo credit: Smallholder Farmers Alliance / Andres Cortez

REPRINT > by Anastasia Moloney for Thomson Reuters Foundation / August 26, 2015

A severe drought in Haiti has led to acute water shortages, shriveled harvests and raised food prices, weakening the fragile food supply and worsening hunger among the poor, the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) said.

The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti already struggles to feed its population of 10.4 million, and 600,000 Haitians already rely on international food aid to survive, the WFP says.

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Chelsea Clinton Meets Moringa Farmers in Haiti

Chelsea Clinton in Haiti last week with two women farmers, Mercillie Romeus (left) and Marie
Dorcelus (right), who are leaders in introducing moringa trees (such as the sapling they are holding)
as a new export crop there. Photo credit: Sebastian Petion / Smallholder Farmers Alliance.

Who would have thought the leaves of one very ordinary looking tree would hold the secret for addressing three critical issues in Haiti: improving nutrition, empowering women and expanding agricultural export.

The leaves of the fast-growing moringa tree, which grows throughout Haiti, contain 9 essential amino acids, 27 vitamins and 46 antioxidants, making it one of the most nutrient dense plants on earth. Just one tablespoon of dried moringa leaf powder is the equivalent of a full serving of vegetables plus a multivitamin combined, making it a valuable tool for improving nutrition.

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