Port-au-Prince, Hait–September 2nd, 2020–The United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), partnered with the Fondation Haitienne de Developpement Agricole Durable (FONHDAD) to establish a bean seed production program to give Haitian farmers sustainable access to improved bean seeds.
With USAID support, FONHDAD has introduced and disseminated two high performance bean varieties in the Plaine du Cul-de-Sac area to increase agricultural productivity and food security in Haiti.
U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Michele Sison declared: “The bean season is crucial for farmers’ livelihoods and food security in the Cul-de-Sac region. The U.S. Government is proud of this innovative seed production program which helps boost agricultural production and make these farming communities stronger and more resilient.”
Like many small farmers in Haiti, Elie struggles each year to purchase the quality seeds he needs to plant each agricultural season. Often, he has no other option than to use the low-yield seeds available at the market. However, it has been proven that the use of high-quality seeds is one of the most fundamental ways to increase agricultural yields in any farming system.
Through the USAID program, local farmers can buy these high-yield seeds and other inputs like fertilizer on credit and use part of their increased income to pay for the seeds after harvest. ‘’The production of high-quality seeds is the cornerstone of any successful agricultural program,’’ says Kenel Cadet, the Executive Director of FONHDAD, who has led agricultural extension activities in the Cul-de-Sac region since 2010.
“The difference was obvious, I see it, and I am so happy,” Elie said. “With the improved seeds and the technical assistance I received from FONHDAD and USAID, I have doubled my yield from 600 kg per hectare to 1,200 kg per hectare,” he added.
Higher yields mean more income for farmers, and more beans sold on the market to feed Haitian families.
With these improved seeds, participating farmers now earn $1,400 per hectare during the bean season, enabling them to feed their families, send their kids to school, and even reinvest part of their profits to grow their farms.
As part of the seed production program, a network of master farmers, working in close partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, manage demonstration plots where farmers can see for themselves the results of the improved seeds.
These master farmers, who include many women, also provide soil preparation services, training, and technical assistance to enrolled farmers to facilitate the adoption of these technologies.
Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, FONHDAD continued to help a network of more than 100 farmers harvest a total of 50 tons of beans for a total value of $215,000.
FONHDAD has also produced an additional seven tons of high-yield seeds that will be available to farmers for the next planting season.
USAID Haiti Mission Director Christopher Cushing said, “With these improved bean seeds, higher yields and income empower these farmers to become self-reliant, while increasing local production and food security in Haiti. USAID is proud to help transform the lives of Haitian farmers and feed Haitian families.”