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New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof (left) greets Heifer International President and CEO Pierre Ferrari at the announcement of Heifer's $18.7 million Haiti commitment during the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting in New York.

We got some pretty exciting news today at Heifer. Our commitment to help rebuild rural communities and to improve economic opportunities in Haiti was chosen to be part of the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting. CEO Pierre Ferrari announced Heifer International’s commitment from the stage today.

The commitment will help 20,250 families increase their incomes by combining livestock and crop inputs for integrated farming, improved husbandry techniques, business training and community-building. The project —REACH, or Rural Entrepreneurs for Agricultural Cooperation in Haiti — will develop 150 breeding centers and provide training for 120 community health workers who, in turn, will train an average of 200 farmers each.

Under Heifer International’s five-year, $18.7-million commitment, Heifer Haiti will work with farming families, aid organizations, producers’ groups, municipalities, ministries and others to rehabilitate and strengthen the crop- and livestock-based livelihoods for farming families in Haiti’s Northwest, Northeast, Nippes, Grand Anse, Central Plateau and Southeast departments.

The project will include goats, cattle, poultry and pigs. Participants will use integrated farming to improve production and strengthen linkages with buyers and others, such as input suppliers, processors and transporters. Heifer will select the most successful farmers from its training program and provide them with additional support to start up 150 family-run centers to provide breeding services and an increased supply of quality animals in strategic regions.

A key element of the project will be to encourage farmers to view their livestock production as a business, which can become a sustainable source of income.

The breeding centers are expected to create 300 full-time jobs, and Heifer estimates incomes of project farmers and breeding center owners will increase between 100 percent and 220 percent over the current $50 per month average.

This commitment meets all three topic areas for this year’s CGI program — jobs, sustainable consumption and empowering girls and women—all of which are key components of our model.

We hope the enterprise will serve as a model for the state to consider for replication, key to igniting the kind of transformation Haiti needs to become self-sustaining. Three hundred full-time jobs will be created and more than 83,000 will benefit indirectly.

REACH will revitalize rural areas by providing economic opportunities so farmers won’t have to migrate to urban centers. The plan will particularly target youth, who are increasingly leaving rural areas for work, leading to an “aging” countryside.


Livestock constitutes 30 percent of Haiti’s agricultural production and 26 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Heifer’s commitment will train farmers to better manage their livestock and to integrate them into a true farming system that provides protein, draft power and fertilizer to improve diet and nutrition and agricultural productivity.

In the video below, Heifer Haiti country director Hervil Cherubin shares more about this exciting new initiative.


Annie Bergman

Annie Bergman is a Global Communications Manager and helps plan, assign and develop content for the nonprofit’s website, magazine and blog. Bergman has interviewed survivors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, beekeepers in Honduras, women’s groups in India and war widows in Kosovo, among many others in her six years at Heifer.