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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog


Good News, Despite What You’ve Heard

John Brimah, on the back of a motorbike, had leprosy as a child and is now in charge of a leprosy,
hospital in Ganta, Liberia. Photo credit Monique Jaques for The New York Times.

REPRINT > Nicholas Kristof for The New York Times

GANTA, Liberia — Cheer up: Despite the gloom, the world truly is becoming a better place. Indeed, 2017 is likely to be the best year in the history of humanity. 

To explain why, let me start with a story. I’m on my annual win-a-trip journey with a university student, who this year is Aneri Pattani, a newly minted graduate of Northeastern University. One of the people we met is John Brimah, who caught leprosy as a boy.

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Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Merge to Create Single Agriculture Sustainability Standard

REPRINT > Sustainable Brands

Two of the world’s leaders in sustainable agriculture and certification, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ have announced plans to merge later this year in an effort to simplify the certification process for sustainable agriculture.

Under the name Rainforest Alliance, the organization will continue to address environmental and social issues around the world, including climate change, deforestation, poverty and unsustainable farming. It will create a single global certification standard by 2019 that will streamline certification for farmers and empower companies to build more responsible supply chains, more efficiently. It will also work to expand advocacy efforts and through new partnerships ensure conservation of entire landscapes in priority regions from India to Indonesia and Guatemala to Ghana.

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A possible future for Haiti

REPRINT > The Economist

DUSDUNES, HAITI – Swivel, clank, scoop, dump. On the outskirts of Desdunes, a town in Haiti’s fertile Artibonite valley, three enormous excavators sink claws into the banks of the muddy Duclos canal. Arching across it, their slender hydraulic arms uproot small trees and drag them through the clay-coloured water as they gouge out mud from the canal bed. They deposit the glistening sludge, mixed with tall grasses, on their side of the channel, forming a neat ridge. Bored-looking policemen lounge in the shade of palm trees, ostensibly to deter thieves from stealing the machines’ batteries. Blue-grey herons stand to attention; cows and horses graze. Ahead of the excavators, the canal is a mere incision through the fens. Behind lies the result of their work: the canal looks wide enough to accommodate a battleship. Naked boys dive in, seeking respite from the Caribbean sun.

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Timberland and Thread Partner to Drive Social Impact in Haiti

The Timberland X Thread collection features five styles of men’s footwear, two bags and one T-shirt —
all made from recycled plastic bottles collected in the streets of Haiti.

REPRINT > by Mary Mazzoni for Triple Pundit

Earlier this month, outdoor gear giant Timberland announced a partnership that quickly drew attention across the web.

The company collaborated with Thread, a Certified B Corporation based in Pittsburgh, on its latest clothing line. The startup transforms plastic bottles from the streets of Haiti and Honduras into what it calls “the most responsible fabric on the planet.”

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A Phoenix Rising in Haiti

An SFA tree nursery under construction in Archambeau, Haiti, next to a giant breadfruit tree felled by
Hurricane Matthew last October.

Smallholder farmers throughout the southwestern region of Haiti have risen up to begin rebuilding following the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew last October. One image taken last Friday captures the spirit of this vast enterprise as a farmer (above) works on a new tree nursery next to a giant breadfruit tree felled by the storm.

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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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