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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog


Haitian Farmers Provide Their Own Relief Aid Following Hurricane Sandy

Junia Durogene (left) used a micro loan to buy rice that she is selling to Tanael Jean. Both are members
of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance cooperative near Gonaives. SFA photo by Timote Georges.

When hurricane Sandy caused colossal damage to Haiti’s agricultural sector last October, the Government and international donors stepped forward to provide seed and rice to help farmers recover from crop losses that ranged from 40 to 70 percent. One group of farmers, however, did not take part in that relief effort. Instead, they were able to pay for their own relief operation.

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Smallholder Productivity and Food Security

The Skoll World Forum is an excellent source of news and information regarding smallholder farmers.

Three-quarters of the world’s poorest live in rural areas. The majority rely on agriculture as their primary income and food source. Secure access to capital, land, technologies and other assets can lead to sustained food security and income generation – as well as contributing to long-term rural livelihoods. The aim is to move beyond subsistence farming and enable greater financial stability, but not at the expense of the environment. We advance innovations that address these issues not beneficiary by beneficiary but system wide. 

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Microfinance Service for Women Farmers in Haiti

Caroline Cius in the shop she set up with a US$50 loan from the Smallholder Farmers Alliance.
SFA photo by Suzanne Worthington.

It has long been a dream of Caroline Cius to have a shop in the front yard of her home and be able to supplement the income from the farm that she and her husband run near the small community of Pont-Philippe, about 20 minutes northwest of the Haitian city of Gonaives. “I had a shop before, but it was destroyed by Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 and I never had the money to start it again,” she said, “But a loan from the Alliance made it possible.” 

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FAO, Haiti Government Seek $74 Million for Haiti's Farm Sector

Colossal damage to agricultural sector in Haiti caused by Hurricane Sandy. UN Photo by Logan Abassi.

FAO Media Centre: FAO and the Government of Haiti are seeking $74 million over the next 12 months to help rehabilitate the country's agricultural sector in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

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Livestock Addition to Smallholder Farmers Alliance in Haiti

Jules Marcelus, a farmer member of the cooperative created by the Smallholder Farmers Alliance,
with one of the cows donated by Heifer International. Jules farms near the rural community of Morancy,
which is close to Gonaives. SFA photo by Hugh Locke.

The Haiti branch of Heifer International recently donated sixteen cows and one bull to Alyans Ti Plantè-Gonaïves, the farmer cooperative pilot program of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance. The cows are now community property, but tended by individual farm families who will sell the milk not consumed by their family. A good dairy cow can produce four gallons of milk a day, and the additional income supplements what the farmers make from their crops. 

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A Simple Fix for Farming

Illustration by Rosia Gainsborough for New York TimesMark Bittman is a New York Times columnist on “food and all things related,” and he has emerged as one of the most thoughtful, balanced and informed writers on the connections among food, health and the environment. The following is an article he wrote in the New York Times on October 21, 2012. He also writes a great blog.

It’s becoming clear that we can grow all the food we need, and profitably, with far fewer chemicals. And I’m not talking about imposing some utopian vision of small organic farms on the world. Conventional agriculture can shed much of its chemical use — if it wants to.

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World Food Day Focus on Agricultural Cooperatives

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) highlights farm cooperatives in feeding an
expanding global population.
This year’s World Food Day theme, “Agricultural cooperatives – key to feeding the world,” highlights the role of cooperatives in improving food security and reducing hunger. Small-scale farmers are expected to provide much of the extra food needed to feed a global population of more than nine billion by 2050. Supporting and investing in cooperatives, producer organizations and other rural institutions is viewed as critical to supporting those farmers. Cooperatives are a special type of enterprise that balance two main goals: satisfying members’ needs, and pursuing profit and sustainability. They may be registered cooperatives, producer organizations, self-help groups, unions and federations of producers, or Chambers of agriculture, to name a few. Here cooperative means any member-owned enterprise run on democratic principles.

- from World Food Day / FAO


Haiti Must Redouble Efforts to Boost Agriculture; Cannot Afford to Fail

60 percent of Haitians rely on farming to feed their families. Photo: Oxfam.

The following text accompanied the launch of Planting Now (2nd Edition): Revitalizing agriculture for reconstruction and development in Haiti, which is part of a long Oxfam tradition of exceptionally comprehensive and insightful reports on development in Haiti and other parts of the world. This particular briefing paper gives one of the best overviews of farming in Haiti that you will find anywhere.

With 60 percent of Haitians relying on farming to feed their families, a revitalized sector is absolutely crucial to long-term growth

Plans and programs to improve the Haitian agriculture sector since the 2010 earthquake have been insufficient, says international organization Oxfam in a new report. Efforts by the Haitian government and the international community have fallen short of revitalizing the sector, improving conditions for small-scale local farmers, or recognizing the important role of women in agriculture.

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