WHAT WE DO
The Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) applies business solutions to help feed and reforest a renewed Haiti by establishing market-based farmer cooperatives, building agricultural export markets, creating rural farm businesses and contributing to community development.
- Exit Strategy Aid: agricultural projects that have not planned for their exit from the outset are doing a disservice to farmers by creating a dependency rather than building the capacity for self-reliance.
- Trees as Bio-Currency: making trees more valuable in the ground than cut for charcoal by having farmer-members of the SFA cooperatives plant trees in order to earn the seed, tools and training required for higher crop quality and yields.
- Supporting Women Farmers: equal but separate membership in the SFA for husband and wife farming partners, in addition to a micro-credit program that is exclusively for women farmers and includes leadership and business training.
- Promoting Organic Agriculture: SFA the SFA uses an ecological production management system that builds good soil, enhances biodiversity and uses no chemical inputs.
- 3,200 farmer members
- 46% of farmer members are women
- 19 tree nurseries
- 4,916,000 trees planted by the SFA between 2010 and 2015
- 6,300 acres under cultivation by farmer members (2,550 hectares)
- 102 women farmer members currently receiving micro-credit loans
- 40% estimated average increase in crop yields by farmer members
- 50% estimated average increase in household income by farmer members
- 3,400 estimated number of additional children of farmer-members in school
- 13,520 estimated total number of farmers and their family members positively impacted by the SFA’s work
- Farmer Cooperatives: creating farmer-managed businesses with a triple bottom line: planting trees, increasing food production and improving farm livelihoods.
- Kay Plantè: a business providing agricultural supplies to farmers and wholesale food to micro-entrepreneurs, along with a marketing operation for farmer produce.
- Farmer Field School: a certificate program for the SFA farmer-members that trains them to the level of an agricultural extension agent.
- SFA Microfinance: business training and loans to women farmers to assist them with creating and managing secondary business ventures such as the food stall shown here.
- Alpha Bon: adult literacy and business training for the SFA farmer-members being led by the microfinance institution Fonkoze.
- School Gardens: a network of model school gardens to encourage the growing of vegetables for hot meal programs and having students learn about the environment.
- Moringa Export: a consortium of smallholder farmer cooperatives growing and processing moringa leaves into powder and extracting oil from the seeds—both for export.
- Lime Oil Export: reintroducing lime trees in Haiti that will supply a plant being built there to process and export lime oil extract.
- Reintroducing Cotton Export: a feasibility study is underway to explore the possibility of reintroducing cotton as a smallholder export crop.
Support for Women Farmers
Simply put, if you don’t emphasize overall support to smallholders in favor of women farmers you are not going to get full value for your investment. That is not to suggest that support should be provided to women only, because that causes its own dysfunction. But supporting women to achieve an equal status with male farmers—and with equal access to resources—has been shown to increase farm yields by 20 to 30 percent, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The SFA model starts by making women and men separate and equal members, including when they farm together as husband and wife, which is something rarely done in Haiti. A woman farmer is a member of the SFA’s national board of directors. Women farmers are the exclusive recipients of the SFA microfinance program, which includes basic business training. And women farmers have the exclusive responsibility for processing moringa as part of the new Haitian moringa value chain.
What began as externally applied rules has begun to change cultural norms regarding the status of women, one community at a time.