UMCOR and Chemonics staff exchange information about farm equipment.
By Louis Jacques Hugues*
August 22, 2013—The Cul-de-Sac Plains encompass some of the most productive farmland in the West Department of Haiti. Located 30 minutes outside Port au Prince, the capital, farmers there succeed in producing a variety of crops (beans, corn, sorghum) despite persistent need for agricultural inputs (such as equipment and grain-storage facilities) and up-to-date agricultural techniques. Still, a significant amount of the food that is produced is lost after harvest.
To address this issue, UMCOR Haiti, working with partner Chemonics International, has begun a project called Improving Post-Harvest Storage for Increased Agricultural Incomes in the Cul-de-Sac Plains. With the collaboration of 20 Haitian farmer associations, UMCOR will distribute 95 silos and humidity meters and 800 tarps to farmers in the area. UMCOR also will train farmers in post-harvest crop treatment, storage techniques, and silo management.
As a result of the hands-on training, farmers will gain tools and knowledge for the proper application of grain-management techniques and financial literacy. Equally as important, the project will help farmers preserve the quality of harvested grains and reduce continuous crop losses.
Proper storage of their crops will help farmers reduce the risk of spoilage and pest attacks, thereby increasing availability of their grains. Moreover, the project will contribute to mitigtating disaster risks related to flooding, high winds, drought, and extreme temperatures as well as contamination by micro-organisms that reduce the value of the product. Traditional storage techniques make crops more vulnerable to disaster events.
As a result, this project will greatly improve farmers’ incomes in the targeted communities because they will be able to sell their crops when prices are favorable and not because they must do so in order to avert the destruction of their harvests.
Most important of all, the increase in the retention of the agricultural yield that the UMCOR Haiti project promotes will help ease the food insecurity the country currently faces.
Your gift to Haiti Response, UMCOR Advance #418325, supports UMCOR’s ongoing long-term recovery and development work in Haiti.
*Louis Jacques Hugues is UMCOR Agriculture Project Manager. He has been with UMCOR Haiti since July 2013.