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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog

Sunday
Aug042013

As Cost of Importing Food Soars, Jamaica Turns to the Earth

Students feeding chickens before class at Rennock Lodge All-Age School in east
Kingston, Jamaica. Photo: Andrea Bruce for The New York Times.
Reprint from New York Times by Damien Cave

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The scent of coconut oil and fiery jerk spice blows through kitchens across this green island, but as the country’s food imports have become a billion-dollar threat to finances and health, Jamaica has taken on a bold new strategy: make farming patriotic and ubiquitous, behind homes, hospitals, schools, even prisons.

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Friday
Jul262013

Tourism Can Help Haiti Return to its Halcyon Days

Haiti's carnival of flowers in Port-au-Prince last year. The three-day festival celebrates new beginnings and the revitalisation of the island. Photograph: Dieu Nalio Chery/APReprint from Guardian Poverty Matters Blog by Prospery Raymond

Haiti proclaimed its independence in 1804, the first country in Latin America and the Caribbean to do so. Despite having to pay an extortionate independence fee, equivalent to $21bn (£14bn) in today's money, it was a relatively prosperous and peaceful place to live.

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Thursday
Jun272013

Smallholder Farmers Alliance to be Featured on CNN International

Haiti’s "greener and brighter future" will be explored by Philippe Cousteau in a CNN International special program Going Green on Friday, July 5 at 16:30 GMT (and repeated several times over the following week). Check out Philippe's photo diary from filming in Haiti. The work of two organizations will be featured in this special—the Smallholder Farmers Alliance’s agroforestry cooperative and its 2,000 member farmers near Gonaives, and an urban garden in the Port-au-Prince slum of Cite Soleil run by SAKALA

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Tuesday
Jun252013

History of Agricultural Self-Reliance in Haiti

People often make the mistake of thinking that because Haiti is in such dire straits now, it must always have been that way. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and this is particularly the case with agriculture.

As historians Laurent Dubois and Deborah Jenson noted in an op-ed in the New York Times last year (“Haiti Can Be Rich Again,” January 8, 2012), “it is easy to forget that, for most of the 19th century, Haiti was a site of agricultural innovation, productivity and economic success.”

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Tuesday
Jun182013

Drought, Poor Harvest to Worsen Haiti Food Crisis - WFP

A boy from a family made homeless by the 2010 earthquake stands inside one of
385 informal tent cities in the Delmas suburb of Port-au-Prince, on April 18, 2013.
REUTERS/Marie Arago
Reprint from Thomson Reuters Foundation

BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - An estimated 1.5 million Haitians face hunger because of poor harvests and rising food prices, as the Caribbean nation continues to reel from a series of natural disasters, says the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP).

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Tuesday
May072013

Transforming Agroforestry in Haiti

Timote Georges is Co-Founder of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance.

Reprint from the Clinton Foundation website and 2012 Annual Report

Growing up on a farm in Haiti, I saw my father working very hard but having a difficult time making a good living. I eventually realized that he was working without any technical support, and I decided to study agronomy so that I could provide that support to other farmers. I also came to understand that improving farming techniques would not be enough, because any progress could be lost with just one storm and the resulting flood caused by only two percent tree cover throughout the country. My path was set early on to try and tackle both issues through agroforestry.

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Thursday
Apr112013

Helping Farmers Fight the Rising Food Crisis in Haiti

Reprint from Huffington Post Canada

Even after three years of rebuilding from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, progress continues to be met with stories of difficulty and more bad news. Last week the U.N. issued a report warning that 1.5-million Haitians -- mostly farmers and their families -- are at risk of serious malnutrition because of crop losses due to last year's record-breaking storm season. Tropical Storm Isaac and Hurricane Sandy were the worst of a series of back-to-back storms in late 2012, the result of which was a record deluge of rain that destroyed between 40 and 90 per cent of Haiti's crops, depending on the region. However, the success of one group of farmers holds promise for helping to address and resolve the malnutrition crisis.

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Saturday
Apr062013

The Mystery of Disappearing Foreign Aid to Haiti: Where Did the Money Go? 

Tent camp in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince following the 2010 earthquake. Photo
by Sebastian Petion.

In a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, authors Jake Johnston and Alexander Main set out to track the $1.15 billion pledged to Haiti by the U.S. government following the January 2010 earthquake. They found that the "vast majority" of the money went straight to U.S. companies and NGOs, with only 1 percent going directly to Haitian companies. I would like to contribute to this discussion by sharing an excerpt from my book “The Haiti Experiment” in which I set out to track how $13 billion was spent in the 29 months following the earthquake. This is the total amount of money from all sources, including the U.S. and other countries, that was actually spent assisting Haiti. And like Johnston and Main, I content that most of that money ended up back in the countries it came from—in the hands of private contractors and NGOs.

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