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Friday, June 15, 2018

Communities are revitalizing agriculture in Duchity, Haiti


It’s been two years since Hurricane Matthew dealt a brutal blow to Haiti. The southern area of the country, including the Duchity region in the province of Grand Anse, was hit hard. Families lost their homes, crops, and livelihoods.

Before the hurricane struck, the Duchity region of Haiti was a thriving agricultural community where HOPE International Development Agency and its local partner had established three agricultural cooperatives with a total of more than 3,000 members.

In the period after the hurricane, the three cooperatives continued to provide strong leadership in the region and today they are taking the next step in helping members revitalize their communities.

With help from friends of HOPE International Development Agency, the three cooperatives are engaged in the Kreyòl Garden, a three-year pilot project that will improve food security and livelihoods for households and communities while also repairing the environmental damage caused by the hurricane and deforestation.

Cooperative members are being trained in sustainable farming techniques that nurture the environment and preserve its ecological health. Test gardens are being used to determine the best crops and growing methods, using both annual and perennial crops specifically selected for markets, reforestation and fuel. In addition, different varieties of Haitian coffee, an important product in the local economy, will be tested in various gardens. The work done through Kreyòl Garden will result in a new model of agroforestry being established in the Duchity region of Haiti and a revitalization of the region's agriculture.

As part of the initiative, local cooperative leaders recently participated in a four-day learning exchange and site visit to the Dominican Republic, meeting with a local organization that has significant experience in coffee production and agroforestry gained over a period of 30 years.

The Haitian cooperative members, all of whom learned best practices and techniques that can easily be replicated in Haiti, are now serving as the primary leaders for the Kreyòl Garden pilot project.

The excitement continues to grow as members begin sharing their knowledge with their respective communities. The return to a thriving agricultural presence in Duchity is well on its way.