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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog

Sunday
Dec302012

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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Tuesday
Nov062012

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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Friday
Nov022012

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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Sunday
Oct212012

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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Tuesday
Oct162012

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

Monday
Oct152012

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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Sunday
Sep162012

Secret Life of Roots

New discoveries about roots leads to better understanding of the role of organic matter in the soil.

This article by Michele Owens was originally published in Garden Design magazine. She reports on new discoveries regarding the extraordinarily complex life of roots.

All gardeners set out to grow healthy plants, but they also face a stubborn barrier, a curtain beyond which eyesight ends and mystery begins: the surface of the soil. Below, plants root in darkness, and our ministrations above ground only sometimes seem to determine whether our charges will go belly up or thrive.

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Sunday
Sep162012

Haiti‚Äôs Lost Creole Pigs

Creole pigs were once an important part of the rural economy of Haiti.

Many people point to the slaughter of the country’s pig stock as helping to fuel the popular revolt that toppled Baby Doc Duvalier. Known as Creole pigs, or “cochon-planches,” these small, black, resilient hogs had long been more than just farm animals, but represented a savings bank that could be sold to pay for school fees, medical emergencies, weddings, or seed for crops. As such, they were a key component of the rural economy.

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