Growing up on a farm in Haiti, I saw my father working very hard but having a difficult time making a good living. I eventually realized that he was working without any technical support, and I decided to study agronomy so that I could provide that support to other farmers. I also came to understand that improving farming techniques would not be enough, because any progress could be lost with just one storm and the resulting flood caused by only two percent tree cover throughout the country. My path was set early on to try and tackle both issues through agroforestry.
The Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) was founded to solve these two major issues – helping to restore tree cover while improving the outdated agricultural techniques being used by small-scale farmers. We began our work in 2010 with support from Timberland, and over the last three years, SFA has grown to 2,000 members and we have transformed them into an agroforestry cooperative. We have created eight tree nurseries and so far have planted 2.2 million trees. With better quality seeds and training, member farmers have increased their crop yields by as much as 50 percent.
Recently, we started working with the Clinton Foundation to further expand our cooperatives. In 2012, with support from the Clinton Foundation, we were able to plant 150,000 trees throughout the Gonaives area. This was an important boost for our work because it is supporting SFA’s agroforestry cooperative as it becomes a commercially sustainable enterprise. This enterprise is vital for sustaining the works that are being done. It will also allow farmers to market their products while they continue to produce in quantity and in quality. SFA aims at establishing this farming cooperative in each Haiti regional department.
You can join the more than 10,000 people who have helped address deforestation in Haiti by taking the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Quiz. When you take the quiz a tree will be planted in Haiti.