How Haitian Farmers Will Reach Their Goals
For economic development to succeed, the people have to own it themselves and achieve self-reliance. The people of Haiti are energetic and industrious, with an entrepreneurial energy. Given the right tools and assistance, they can rebuild their country. These are the building blocks REACH uses to help Haitian farmers succeed.
LIVELIHOOD SECURITY FOR RURAL HOUSEHOLDS
REACH is restocking animal assets and training farmers in environmentally-friendly animal husbandry. The aim is to improve farm productivity, restore local environments and increase economic opportunities for farmers. Heifer is combining livestock and crop inputs for integrated farming, improved husbandry techniques, business training and market linkages, livestock breeding centers and activities to foster community and social harmony.
REACH focuses on empowering women in Haiti through livestock ownership and small business development to ensure they have a voice in the community. Many women in rural Haiti have limited access to economic opportunities. REACH is training and providing technical assistance to women to transform themselves into enterprising smallholder farmers. This project will sustain them to become self-reliant and give them a sense of dignity. Currently 62 percent of REACH project participants are women.
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES AND QUALITY LIVESTOCK
REACH selects the most successful and entrepreneurial farmers from the communities and provides them with additional animals, as well as business and technical training to start breeding centers. These microenterprises–at least 30 percent of which will be operated by women–will provide breeding services and an increased supply of quality animals to the market. Breeding centers also will provide new job opportunities for other community members.
Studies of the four subsectors (goats, cattle, pigs and poultry) will maximize the project’s benefits to farmers. REACH will examine factors surrounding selling to wholesalers, exporters, stores, hotels and restaurants in nearby urban centers. Analysis will help guide activities to identify the interventions with greatest potential for impact, guided by the principle that improved connections between farmers and the private sector is one key to sustainability.
TECHNICAL SERVICES FOR LIVESTOCK SUBSECTORS
REACH will establish a network of trained professionals to provide services within the four livestock subsectors. CAHWs will receive training and seed money to start small businesses. The Haiti Ministry of Agriculture will issue official certificates, authorizing CAHWs to work as vet agents anywhere in the country. REACH will build the capacity of other service providers and processors to improve efficiencies and connections and foster local talent and professional skills in rural Haiti.
REACH is supporting communities to create self- help groups, called kombits, through a community savings and loans approach. Through Passing on the Gift® (POG) each project participant who receives livestock passes on the first female offspring to another family. POG enhances project sustainability and enables farmers to become donors by sharing their own assets and knowledge. Social capital succeeds when farmers and communities work together for mutual gain.
REACH is developing a leadership program to empower rural youth. Together with partner organizations, Heifer is working with young farmers to assist them in owning small farming businesses and to support each other while marketing collectively. This effort is a means of job creation to rebuild a stronger and better Haiti. REACH also will encourage youth to stay in their communities and practice modern agriculture, rather than moving to urban areas in search of meager paying jobs and living in deplorable conditions.
DISASTER RISK PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT
REACH aims to increase resilience and reduce the risks on lives, livestock and livelihoods of the community participants from adverse effects of natural disasters and climate change. Heifer Haiti is building community capacity through trainings. Families learn to identify evacuation centers, safeguard important documents and secure livestock and feed during crisis. Farmers learn best practices for harvesting crops to store for emergency periods.