Cassava, beans and soils, core components of a new project in Haiti
An innovative technological project based on crops and soils was officially launched in Haiti. Its core components are cassava, beans, and soils. Through them, we seek to contribute to a Haitian Government program aimed at increasing farm productivity and incomes, improving nutrition and the livelihoods of smallholder families.
“The ultimate goal of this project is to provide smallholder farmers with new market opportunities,” emphasized Clair Hershey, leader of CIAT’s cassava program, after the project launch workshop, which took place in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on 15–17 April 2015.
The workshop was attended by a total of 26 participants who represented agencies that are already project partners, such as Catholic Relief Services and Haiti’s Ministry of Agriculture, as well as other agencies interested in participating in the project’s implementation, such as Laval University and an initiative called Enhancing and Building Capacity for Increased Food Security in Haiti (AKOSAA)
The project launch workshop, funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), focused on three objectives:
- Identify and contact key partners in Haiti
- Present the project to those key partners and work with them on identifying research and training needs
- Identify key activities in beans, cassava, and soils in order to carry out the proposed interventions in Haiti, and at the same time, fill strategy and knowledge gaps
During the workshop, there was ample discussion of basic topics such as the challenges and opportunities that arise when attempting to support seed systems for Haitian food crops and the needs of farmers and crop production systems in Haiti’s Southern Department (state), among others.
During the first year of its implementation, the project will focus on activities such as: (1) farmer participatory evaluations to determine the status of the technologies and varieties in use today; (2) training for researchers, extension agents, and farmers to strengthen their research and extension capacities; (3) a preliminary assessment of value chains; (4) introduction of high-yielding cassava and bean varieties with high nutritional value; and (5) collecting and organizing soil profiles.
“This project is the result of a visit to CIAT by Haiti’s Minister of Agriculture in 2013, which re-opened the door for substantially and positively impacting the lives of Haitian smallholder farmers,” said Hershey.