Agriculture Program Graduation
Our guest blogger this month is Rick Gethro Macajoux, Agriculture Extension Program Specialist for MFK.
Last month 30 farmers crossed the stage to receive their certificates from MFK agronomists Alex Carroll, Elizé Léandre, and Rick Gethro Macajoux. They have spent the last 6 months training the farmers on how to improve the quality and quantity of peanuts that they grow on their family farms in the commune of Ouanaminthe, in Northeast Haiti.
The sunny day started with a speech of appreciation from Elizé Leandre of MFK, who has directed this project since January. There was a short rainshower after the speech, but it did not last too long. He thanked the hardworking volunteers for their many hours spent finding peanut farmers who could benefit from the training program. Three times a week, Elizé set off on the ninety minute drive to teach these farmers everything from preparing the soil, seeding, preventing and monitoring the plants for signs of aflatoxin, plot maintenance, and harvesting, and he also provided training on business. The farmers are now not only benefitting more from the demonstration plot harvest, but they also have acquired skills to produce a healthier, more abundant crop season after season.
Roudelyne Mompremier, a registered nurse working at MFK, was a guest speaker at the event, and was very pleased to provide the farmers with a discussion about how we use their peanuts in clinic. She started her talk off by explaining what malnutrition is, and many heads in the auditorium nodded in understanding. Ouanaminthe is an area where many parents struggle to feed their children. The MFK nutrition team works in several clinics and organizations in the area, and in order to help these children we give them the fortified peanut butter paste called Medika Mamba in Creole and PlumpyNut/RUTF in English. To show the farmers what their peanuts are used for, everyone received a sample of PlumpyNut just before receiving their certificate!
MFK starts from peanuts in the field and goes to producing RUTF at the factory and treating malnourished children in local clinics. The full cycle of stimulating the economy is the true solution to poverty and malnutrition. It was truly special to see nurses and farmers hand in hand working towards a healthy Haiti.
The farmers were very happy because it was the first time they have received certificates from an organization involved in agriculture. Not only the farmers but also local and regional politicians as well as journalists and radio hosts who came to attend this event were thoroughly satisfied, and they had a chance to express themselves by thanking MFK for the commendable work they are doing in the North and Northeast of Haiti.
At the end of the activity, the attendees had the chance to enjoy locally produced food and dance to kompa music. It was an event to be remembered by all, and the MFK agriculture team is excited to start with a new season of farmer trainings.