The future of Haiti begins in its soil but will come to fruition only in the marketplaces of the Caribbean, Central and South America and beyond.
Heifer International has committed to investing $18.7 million in REACH – Rural Entrepreneurs for Agricultural Cooperation in Haiti — with the aim to work with farming families, aid organizations, producers, municipalities, public-private sector partnerships and others to rehabilitate and strengthen the crop- and livestock-based livelihoods. Approximately $15 million of the REACH project cost will be contributed directly, and the remaining $3.7 million will be contributed according to Heifer's principle of passing on the gift, a living cycle of sustainability that develops community and enhances self-esteem by allowing project partners to become donors.
REACH will build up four livestock sub-sectors (goats, cattle, poultry and pigs) using integrated farming to improve production and strengthen linkages with buyers. Haiti has a long history with livestock and agriculture, but both are sorely underutilized. With training in animal management and environmentally friendly crop production, there is great opportunity for success in livelihood and in building links to markets.
This Heifer project will help to rehabilitate and change the lives of 20,250 Haitian families through:
- Targeting Haitian youth by creating work opportunities that will revitalize them, give them reason to stay home and work on a productive, income-producing farm, and as a result reverse the aging farm population.
- Starting family-run breeding centers that create jobs and wealth and that provide for improved livestock breeds—something that has never been done before in Haiti.
- Improving Haiti's inefficient food-producing and soil protection systems. That will increase production, quality, outputs, and ultimately develop assets the farmers can use to create market opportunities and build businesses.
- Training Haitian farmers in disaster preparedness, such as identifying and mitigating risks and safeguarding their assets—their animals.
- Protecting the environment by using animals that are complementary to the crops, and using techniques such as zero grazing that protects groundcover and manure collection that provides organic fertilizer. Our goal is to leave the environment better than we found it.
Heifer's REACH project will help more than 100,000 people overall – the largest animal project of its kind in Haiti's history. This is a significant scaling up of Heifer's traditional work, but we have been successful elsewhere - such as East Africa with dairy development (benefiting more than 200,000 smallholder farmers in three countries). By scaling up, we will help more people help themselves and speed the end of hunger and poverty.