Thursday, May 20, 2010
2011 PHASE 2
(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.