A New Addition to MFK’s Agriculture Program

James Rhoads is MFK’s agriculture development specialist. He heads up the program to develop more and better peanuts in Haiti. This post is part of a continuing series about MFK’s agriculture programs.

A major achievement during the most recent visit from our PCRSP partners, and most personally rewarding, was getting our 2 wheel tractor up and running. I bought the tractor from another nongovernmental organization in March and have been slowly working out the kinks. Between the 15 horsepower hand-cranked diesel motor and a non-resourceful operator’s manual, it had plenty of kinks, including our cranking arms. But, with the help of John, Chad and Frank, we put it to work preparing our plots and developed an interesting “peanut gallery” in the neighbor’s field. At approximately US $2000, I have a lot of hope that this kind of technology will make more scaled and advanced farming a possibility and ultimately make purchasing local peanuts from Haitian farmers more advantageous.

For the purposes of training, I’m lending it to our Universite Chretienne du Nord d’Haiti agriculture school partners to learn how to use it. They purchased one to be shipped this summer. I’m basically becoming the sales rep for these things. I’m also trying to arrange a field day with another agriculture group here to talk up the tractors in the hopes of making their use more widespread.