From Hurricane to Hope
The 115 mile per hour winds and torrential rains that accompanied Hurricane Sandy in the fall of 2012 devastated the Haitian landscape and left loss and destruction in its wake. When the floodwaters cleared, the Groupe Femme Vaillante de Cotin Thomazeau (GFVCT), a women's farmer association in Thomazeau that manages an input supply store (BIA), found its entire stockof bean seeds and fertilizers destroyed.
With the winter bean agricultural campaign approaching, GFVCT and its 150 women farmerswere left with no way to generate revenues and no source of quality inputs to offer local farmers for the campaign. The Feed the Future West/WINNER project worked with the association to find a solution that would both facilitate GFVCT’s recovery while simultaneously building its capacity and ensuringits farmers were well-supported. By subsidizing bean seed and fertilizer purchases and offering training in financial and inventory management, FTF West/WINNER provided GFVCT with critical tools necessary to overcome the hurricane’s aftermath.Lucienne Thomas, president of GFVCT, recognizes the success local farmers saw due to the project’s investment, saying: “The BIA sold all the bean seeds in preparation for the winter bean campaign of 2012-2013, for a total amount of 616,000 gourdes (approximately $14,000). Farmers were eager to plant after Sandy,and their bean crops had good results because the seeds were of very good quality.” GFVCT planted 8.5 hectares of beans, with yields of 1.1 T/ha (compared to 600 kg/ha – their yield prior to receiving technical assistance from FTF West/WINNER). The bean season is crucial for farmers’ livelihoods in the Cul-de-Sac region and represents an income of $1,400 per hectare for participating farmers. With this increased income, farmers are able to pay for school fees and purchase better quality food andclothing for their families.
The semi-annual agricultural campaigns providelocal farmerswith access to high-quality inputs that result in increasedcrop yields. By demonstrating the benefits of investing in these products, FTF West/WINNER enables farmers to capitalize on the resulting increase in revenues and improve their livelihoods, encouraging them to invest their money in high-quality inputs on the front-end to continue seeing these improved outcomes in future agricultural seasons. As a result of FTF West/WINNER’s timely assistance, GFVCT’s farmers, such as Lucienne Thomas, were able to reinvest their income in seeds and fertilizers in time for the spring-summer corn campaign, without receiving additional subsidies.