On December 14, 2012, the Cooperative des Paysans Chanpyon de la Plaine du Cul-de-Sac (COPACPLA) and Compagnie Haïtienne de Production Agricole (CHPA) signed a milestone contract for the sale of black and red beans amounting to more than two million dollars (USD $2,000,000). This contract is the result of the Feed the Future West/WINNER project’s successful effort to foster and intensify the marketing of agricultural products and facilitate lasting partnerships between farmers and the private sector.
The agreement between COPACPLA and CHPA will strengthen the relationship between private sector institutions and farmers. CHPA’s vice president declared upon the signing, “Until today, CHPA had never signed a contract directly with farmer associations. It is a good opportunity for the country, for the farmers, and for our company to join forces to fight the importation of agricultural products, and increase revenues for the farmers.”
In order to reach potential markets on a greater scale and supply large distributors, the farmer associations supported by USAID’s Feed the Future West/WINNER project needed to organize further into legally designated cooperatives. Currently, farmer associations are legally responsible towards third parties, but they do not have a legal status on their own. FtF West/WINNER collaborated with the newly formed Asosyasyon Chanpyons to group them as “cooperatives.” Through the creation of legally- designated cooperatives, farmers now have the opportunity to do business directly with their clients, and have access to less costly agricultural inputs, as well as to financial credit for larger scale investments that are not available to an association.
Numerous mountains of Haiti are completely bare due to the massive deforestation and uncontrolled tree cutting for fuel source, as well as demographic pressure on the land. As part of its agroforestry program, WINNER has developed a partnership with DINASA, Haitian-owned gas company, to implement a large agroforestry and watershed protection program titled PLANTE LAVNI in all its targeted communes, which was officially launched in February 2012.
Wilhelm Emile grew up in the plantain fields in Bois-Neuf in the Matheux region, the main production area of plantains in Haïti, where his father owned plantations. Married since 1984 and father of 7, Wilhelm has never had an easy life despite revenues earned from agriculture and basic metalwork, his other source of small income. Unsuitable agricultural practices and sigatoka disease in the region resulted in plantain crop losses between 25-30%. Wilhelm first collaborated with WINNER during a training session for farmers on the plantain value chain, where he and his fellow farmers received instruction on new planting techniques, pest control, and improved postharvest practices. The impact on the region’s production was remarkable:
Nine months, 3,200 families, and 2,500 hectares later, communities in the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac continue to capitalize on the return of water to their region. The increased access to water, a result of the Rivière Blanche canal rehabilitation by USAID/WINNER and MARNDR, has facilitated agricultural production and improved life conditions of families dependant on the successful irrigation of their lands.
With the completion of the canal infrastructure work, farmers no longer depend solely on rain to provide water for their crops. In 2012 alone, a year marred by devastating droughts, thanks to the irrigation works in Riviere Blanche, farmers succeeded in sowing 300 hectares which have not been irrigated for more than 15 years. The anticipated increase in agricultural production and revenues for the fall harvest will be a drastic improvement over previous years.