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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog


Haiti Gains Regional Support for Smallholder Cotton Production

The author's great nephew Tobias, with help from the always patient family dog Loki, modeling a shirt
made from smallholder-grown organic cotton from Brazil.

The Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) represented Haiti at a meeting in Paraguay last month to discuss strengthening the cotton sector throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. And yes, the photo below is part of the story... keep reading.

Much of the meeting's agenda focused on the experience and needs of smallholder organic cotton producers in the region. While Brazil produces the most conventionally-grown cotton, it was surprising to learn that Peru is the regional leader in smallholder organic cotton. There are also significant smallholder cotton operations in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and other countries.

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First Steps Towards Farm Recovery in Haiti

Hugh Locke and Timote Georges (second and third from left) meeting with representatives of the 1,200
family farms the SFA is helping to restore following the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew.

Last Friday my colleague Timote Georges and I were in the southwest of Haiti meeting with leaders representing the 1,200 farm families that we are assisting to start farming again following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew on October 4th.

In partnership with Project Medishare, the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) is providing the seed, tools and training these farmers need to get going again. Crop destruction ranged from 75 to 100% in this region of Haiti, which traditionally accounts for more than half the country's total food production.

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Hope Delivered to Haitian Farmers Hit by Hurricane Matthew

Members of the SFA in the farming community of Terre des Negres received rice, cooking oil and dried
fish (wrapped in paper) for their families.

Just when the local population was starting to lose hope, a truck from the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) arrived in the remote farming community of Terre des Negres in northwestern Haiti. Inside were emergency food rations that represent the first step in helping farm families to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew. In keeping with our Haiti Smallholder Recovery Operation, assistance starts with food and repairs and will shortly be followed by providing the seeds, tools and training needed to get agriculture going again. 

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New Feasibility Study Sponsored by Timberland Makes Compelling Case for Bringing Cotton Farming Back to Haiti

Integrating cotton farming, tree planting and food security with a new enterprise model has potential to connect Haitian smallholder farmers to the global economy

NEW YORK, NY, November 9, 2016 – Today, the nonprofit Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) announced two breakthrough innovations being proposed for agriculture in Haiti. The announcement was made at the Haiti Funders Conference in New York City, the third annual gathering of donors and investors focused on the goal of achieving sustainability in Haiti, a country still reeling from the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in early October.

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Aid for Haitian Farmers Affected by Hurricane Matthew

Tree planting is part of the recovery plan for smallholder farmers in Haiti affected by Hurricane Matthew.
Credit: A.F. CORTES

Emergency Supplies and Trees for Farm Families Impacted By Storm Damage

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI, October 20, 2016 – The Haitian non-profit Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) and its international affiliate, Impact Farming, today  launched an appeal for donations to their joint “Haiti Smallholder Recovery Operation” to aid farmers affected by Hurricane Matthew. This initiative will provide targeted support for up to 1,400 farm families in 15 rural communities, starting with emergency food and repairs and soon to be followed with help to get seeds in the ground in time for the upcoming planting season. 

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Who Will Speak for Haiti’s Trees?

A hillside near Kenscoff, Haiti, showing the effects of deforestation. Credit: Hector Retamal/Agence
France-Presse — Getty Images

REPRINT > Laurent Dubois for The New York Times

Durham, N.C. — Flying over the mountains into Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a few years ago, I sat next to a volunteer taking her first trip to the country. “I see trees,” she said, pointing down at the hillsides. “They told us there are no trees.”

Foreign descriptions of the country frequently claim it is almost completely deforested; people often reference a striking 1987 National Geographic photograph of the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, forested on one side and barren on the other, as proof. In the common imagination, Haitians literally devour their forests; last week a meteorologist in Florida, describing the impact of Hurricane Matthew, said, “Even the kids there, they are so hungry they actually eat the trees.”

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Hurricane Matthew leaves the farmers and fishermen of Haiti struggling to survive

A family farm in Morne la Source, Haiti, was destroyed after hurricane Matthew. Pat Farrell Miami Herald

REPRINT > Jacqueline Charles for the Miami Herald

MORNE LA SOURCE, HAITI -- Marie-Lucienne Duvert looked out from under the eaves of her mud and wood-frame house, as her husband tried to repair the damaged roof above her head, and tried to come to grips with the expanse of devastation staring back.

“There isn’t even a tree left to catch a breeze,” said Duvert, 63, surveying the once-majestic coconut palm trees that now stood like inverted wet mops and the toppled plantains, avocados and dried-breadfruits littering the ground. “This was our livelihood. Now it’s all gone, destroyed.”

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HAITI: Hurricane Matthew - Situation Report No. 5 (as of 9 Oct 2016)

Source: Civil Protection Directorate via OCHA

Excerpts from a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):

  • According to the last figures issued by the government, it is estimated that 1,410,907 people are in need humanitarian assistance, representing 12.9% of the population of the country (10.9M).
  • According to the last figures issued by the government, it is estimated that 2.1 million people have been affected by Hurricane Matthew. 
  • A total of 336 people were killed by the hurricane in seven departments from south-east to north-west, according to data available at noon on 8 October. 
  • UNICEF and IBESR have assessed 19 residential care centers in Les Cayes, totaling 1.112 children (423 girls), 14 out of the 19 centers have suffered damages.

Full Report available here.

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