Rural Entrepreneurs for Agricultural Cooperation in Haiti
To help bring Haiti onto the road to prosperity, rural Haitians have great opportunity and responsibility. When Heifer International deployed a team to carry out a five-month post-earthquake assessment in 2010, Heifer found that almost every rural household in Haiti rears at least one form of livestock. Haitian farmers have always struggled to survive, however, because of poor soil, poor breeding stock, lack of farming tools, low production quality and restricted access to markets because of poor roads.
Most farmers are not trained in animal husbandry, resulting in lower-yielding animals. There are no veterinary schools in Haiti, thus there are fewer than 75 veterinarian doctors in the entire country. Domestic production of meat, dairy products, eggs, poultry, etc. does not meet local demand, nor does it capitalize on the enormous potential for export to other markets in the Caribbean.
Improving the stock of local cattle, training families in sustainable agriculture and helping farmers access markets will build a stronger Haiti.
This gap between potential and reality is where Heifer’s Rural Entrepreneurs for Agricultural Cooperation in Haiti (REACH) program comes in. Building on 20 years of partnership with local communities in Haiti, Heifer International is implementing this $8 million project, contributing to the reconstruction of Haiti’s rural areas and strengthening the economic resiliency of more than 12,000 farming households over five years through community livestock enterprises.
REACH is building up four livestock subsectors
Now in the project’s second year, Heifer and partners have built 32 breeding centers and integrated farms (out of 75 planned) in strategic regions of the country. Heifer Haiti has trained 78 (of 120 planned) Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs), who will in turn train an average of 200 farmers each, for an estimated 24,000 well-trained farmers. This project will not only increase food security and income for thousands of families, it also will lead to at least 300 full-time jobs through the breeding centers and CAHWs. Currently, family income from farm-based activities averages $50 per month. REACH is projecting to increase incomes from 100 percent for individual livestock producers to 220 percent for breeding center owners.