Successes in Sorghum: A Lasting Legacy in Agriculture
There is a constant level of risk for farmers in Haiti, one which has kept some from investing fully in their land as agricultural entrepreneurs, and as such, opportunities are missed or the uncertainty too great for farmers to bear. Such was the case for Cadet Luckner, a farmer from Thomazeau who supports his wife and six children. Luckner comes from a farming family, but confessed that, “I was discouraged. It is difficult to make money and live decently from agriculture. I think it’s because we don’t have good techniques and don’t see ourselves as entrepreneurs that make investments, but more as farmers who do agriculture as a pastime.”
It was after collaborating with Feed the Future West/WINNER (FTF West/WINNER) that Luckner’s views changed: He now serves as the general Coordinator for the Fondation des Pasteurs Bons Samaritains d’Haïti (FEPBSH), a Chanpyon Asosyasyon of the FTF West/WINNER project who recently entered into a contractual partnership with the private sector for the sale of sorghum from the Cul-de-Sac plain.
Thanks to FTF West/WINNER’s assistance in establishing partnerships between farmer associations and the private sector, FEPBSH will be providing 200 metric tons of sorghum to the Brasserie National S.A (BRANA), one of the largest breweries in Haiti. The sorghum provided by the association will be used to produce Malta H, a malt energy drink consumed widely in Haiti. Sorghum will replace imported “malt”, thanks to a technology developed by Heineken, the main shareholder of BRANA. This sale represents revenues of $80,000 to association members, and $8,000 to Cadet Luckner alone who provided 20 metric tons for the sale. Luckner noted that, “I was proud to see that our sorghum was of such high quality that a large brewery like BRANA would want to buy our product!” It is important to note that BRANA will pay $400/ton, a much higher price than the usual $180 to $200/ton.
These partnerships provide financial stability for associations and their members, and allow for a stable future in agriculture. They also provide a source of income for community members that are not directly linked to the association; Mr. Luckner explains that last year he was able to provide jobs for eight people in his community, but that this year and thanks to the contract with BRANA, he will be able to employ about 24 people. Furthermore, by helping grow the profitability of the association, Mr. Luckner will also be able to help his own family. Luckner concisely and eloquently explains: “The funniest thing, and I consider this a revelation, is that I had some land and I never knew its importance and value until I crossed the path of the FTF West/WINNER project. Before, we never knew where we were going to sell our sorghum but now we have a clear path.”
The FTF West/WINNER project’s efforts to foster and intensify marketing of agricultural products is resulting in lasting partnerships between the Chanpyon cooperatives and the private sector, which is in line with the project’s objective of directly connecting famers to large agro industrial businesses.