Haiti has experienced severe environmental degradation over the past three decades, leading to serious agricultural and economic decline. This decline makes it difficult and costly for smallholder farmers to try out more sophisticated agricultural techniques. The result is that farmers cannot keep up, and this once fertile nation now relies on imports for 50% of its food needs.
ISCA-AIDC’s newest project is a poultry production program that offers a simple solution. Our past assessments have shown that when it comes to agricultural production, the primary needs of smallholder farmers are access to good animal health care and strong knowledge in animal health production and management. That’s why we’re working directly with local communities and our partner, Chalice, to empower farming families to earn an income and develop business skills through chicken production. Thanks to a contribution from Canada’s International Youth Internship Program, there are also two Canadian interns on the ground in Haiti, working in the communities of Terrier Rouge and Grand Bassin to support the project.
Over the next few months, ISCA will help farming families in these two communities to establish a local poultry cooperative, construct chicken coops, and become trained in poultry and small business management. Beyond that, there are plans to construct a poultry hatching unit, produce chicken feed from local stocks, and process and sell locally-made food products. Throughout these activities, we will also train local community livelihood and veterinary agents, offer continual education and training, and conduct studies to measure the impact of our work. So far, ten families have been selected to participate. Our interns have already started training sessions and are helping families construct chicken coops.
In this phase of the project, we have secured enough funding to construct chicken coops for ten families, but we’re ultimately hoping to include more than 25 families in future phases. Above all, we will continue to reinforce a cooperative approach of self-determination and leadership within the communities we work with. In this way, community economic growth will be more sustainable and new opportunities will be identified in a collaborative, participatory manner.
We’re especially thankful to our partners and supporters who have helped us to get this project off the ground, and we’re confident that with continued support, we can help more farming families become self-sustaining through chicken production in Haiti.