Thursday, May 20, 2010
(captions T to B) Haitian bee hive, field we may lease & new irrigation canal
WHERE THERE IS NO VISION THE PEOPLE WILL PERISH
Last week I spent four days here at Borel with the advance team from Mt. Olive College. We drafted a proposal for a partnership for working together to advance agricultural here in the Artibonite valley and even in the mountains beyond. I shared the first phase of that vision that we hope to start as early as September this year. In 2011 we would like to take lease options on some of the farm fields that lie to the back of our compound. One exceptional piece of land has a new irrigation canal going through the middle of it and one irrigation ditch borders one of the boundaries and a third irrigation ditch crosses at another point. Land like this can grow 3 crops a year. A typical rotation is rice, then corn and rice again, other crops that may be grown by some of the farmers are sweet potatoes and beans. The farmers know that it takes fertilizer and nutrients to grow exceptional crops but for lack of money most can't afford to use them. The field work is mostly still by hand labor with hoes and picks their are a few large rototillers being used and a few small tractors with tillers or disc plows. The farmers usually start at dawn which is around 5:00 this time of year and work till 5-6:00 pm when it starts to get dark.
The goal of us leasing farm land is to promote new techniques, crops and practices. Having land out along side other farmers with our crops in view we hope will demonstrate and convince others to try what we are doing. We will be hiring farmers to help work our fields which will also give employment to some in this area. They will also be a voice or good advertisement for promoting what works as we experiment. The crops we produce will be offered at wholesale to area vendors to sell in many of the area markets in the valley. It is hoped that at some point we can organize a small cooperative among our neighbors and make our equipment available to them. We would make the equipment available with our operator to work in their fields for a small fee to cover wages, fuel and maintenance costs. To make it possible for them to change to better agricultural practices we will being offering small micro finance loans. I will talk about this in the next blog.
Sunday, May 16, 2010
FUTURE TILAPIA FACILITY
In my next several blogs I would like to give a brief outline outline of the vision that is starting to unfold for us in the Project Help-Haiti Partnership. It has always been my belief that it is often the small to medium size organizations that get the majority of the work done on the mission field. That isn't to say that the big boys don't add a significant contribution to what gets done, I have great admiration for the efforts of Samaritan's Purse and World Vision's efforts here in Haiti. Yet it is organizations like ours who have established through a long view approach to planning and transformation a grass roots base of support. This has allowed us to acquire local and national acceptance and respect as part of the communities where our multi-site operations are located. It is this long term commitment and longevity (1967) as a government recognized mission organization that has allowed us to be just as successful maybe even more so than the big operations who move on to the next disaster and media hot spot so quickly.
Another reason we can hope for success here at PH-H is that we have recognized the need for building partnerships inside and outside the country. This is allowing us to go outside our traditional Church of God denomination to build our funding, our manpower and our expertise needs. This has been so evident as we receive inquiries from organizations, denominations and individuals who want to partner with us in our efforts here in Haiti. Several of these inquiries have now moved on to developing partnerships like that with the Original Free Will Baptist denomination , Harvest Connection and Mt. Olive College.
It is hoped that by as soon as August we will be starting Phase 1 of our agricultural project with these partners. The plan for 2010 is to develop a Tilapia farming enterprise by building a series of 4 x 12 foot concrete tanks in the unused 45 x 120 foot former poultry barn. Some very new technology that is having great success in Asia will be applied in this operation. One of these is the application of what is called the NANO BUBBLE aeration system. This new technology also has great potential in water purification and keeping our food sources safe. The fish we would raise through this new technology would grow quicker (to the market in less time) and have less mortality than the present methods. Our fish would be available for sale from our farm to entrepreneurs at wholesale so they can market them as fresh fish in the local markets and to processors who would sell them as frozen fish in grocery stores.
The nutrient rich waters from our tanks would be used as a source of fertilizer in our demonstration test plots, our gardens and our shade houses where we start vegetable seedlings and nursery stock. We also have proposed the construction of a hydroponic greenhouse where vegetables will be grown without soil in nutrient enriched water.
This is the vision we have for agricultural projects that we hope to start implementing yet this year. In the next blog I will outline the plans we have for implementing in Jan. 2011. This is a massive project and certainly one that PH-H could have never attempted without partners . In late June we will be gathering at a summit at Mt. Olive College in N. Carolina to present our vision at an open forum in hopes to take this from the visionary / planning stage to reality.
Friday, May 14, 2010
On Monday I arrived back in Haiti after a five week absence to return home for business, visits and rest. The rest never happened as I found myself constantly busy with phone conversations, e-mails and travel. One of my travels took me to N. Carolina to meet with Harvest Connection a mission outreach of the Original Free Will Baptists denomination and also the agri business school of Mt. Olive College. This week it was their turn to travel as they sent an advance team to Haiti to draft a partnership proposal between themselves and Project Help-Haiti. The team consisted of two college professors from the Ari Business center of Mt. Olive college Dr. Peter Appleton and Dr. Phillip Hamilton. Their task was two fold** to identify areas of cooperation between PH-H , the MO College and the Original Free Will Baptists ** to prepare a proposed partnership between PH-H and MO College in agriculture at our Borel Facility. This proposal plan will be presented to the Original Free Will Baptists at their annual convention at Mt. Olive College this Wed. evening 5/19 and then at an open to the public summit at Mt. Olive College on June 28th. It is possible that we will be moving forward to implement some of areas of the agriculture plan as early as this Fall Sept. --November. The rest of the plan will move forward in 2011 as we start up the field operations.