Luckner Dorméus, a farmer from Goyavier, regains confidence in agriculture
After twelve years of unsuccessful production, Luckner Dorméus had given up hope of generating enough income from potato farming to support his family of seven. The 47-year-old native of Goyavier, in the commune of St. Marc, struggled to make ends meet. "I really became discouraged,” he said. “The land could not feed my family.”
Today, Luckner tells a different story. With the assistance provided by Feed the Future West/WINNER (FTF West/WINNER), farmers in Goyavier have implemented new potato planting and production technology and seen their crop yields and resulting incomes rise dramatically. Luckner used to grow potatoes mainly for personal consumption and sold for only a few thousand gourdes per year at the local market, but after working with FTF West/WINNER he received revenues of 150,000 gourdes in one year (about $3500). In 2012 alone, Luckner says that he made more money from his potato crops than he made in the ten previous years combined. "The money I have made in the marketing of potatoes in 2012 with the support of the FTF West/WINNER project was something that I did not dare to hope for,” he said. “Even my father who was a great potato farmer never had such income."
Since 2009, the project has worked with Goyavier potato farmers to boost production, introducing them to a new potato variety – the Granola potato – that thrives in the region and results in greater yields. Previous potato varieties used by farmers in the region produced 10-12 tons/ha, but the new granola variety can provide yields of up to 35 tons/ha, which represents about a 200% increase. Coupled with the higher market value of this variety, the larger yields generate more revenues for local farmers, allowing them to increase their income, provide better lives for themselves and their families, and also reinvest part of the profits in future agricultural seasons.
By bringing a new potato variety to the region, offering technical assistance to farmers in planting and harvesting techniques, and providing access to plastic crates to reduce post harvest losses while transporting potatoes to markets, FTF West/WINNER has helped revive the traditional potato culture of Goyavier, one of the two largest potato producing localities in the Matheux region.The improved technology and inputs are part of a holistic strategy that also connects farmers to the private sector so they are able to market and sell their products. As a result, Luckner, who is now president of “Farmer’s Union of Goyavier”, an association with 840 members, has little difficulty selling his products. "The project has connected me to almost all the major hotels on the Arcadins coast, to whom I regularly provide potatoes,” he says. With a positive outlook for a future successfully rooted in agriculture, Luckner is now able to provide for his family’s needs and send his five children to school, all while following in his father’s footsteps.