CTA Program Update

From MFK Agriculture Research and Extension Program Specialist, Ryan Welby

In October 2017, the MFK Agriculture Team implemented two research projects with its partners the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Today we would like to give you an update on the progress that we have made with the CTA grant. The CTA project is attempting to identify what foods are commonly grown in the region which will in turn help farmers grow a more diverse variety of food to enhance their household nutrition. As part of this grant, the MFK Agriculture team will be maintaining several demonstration gardens with community members as a way to show local growers the benefits of crop diversity.

Throughout the fall the Agriculture team worked with 91 community members in 3 villages in North Eastern Haiti. Community members were taught how to create raised nurseries that can be used to germinate seeds and transplant them back into their fields. This will help grow hardier plants that are more likely to succeed, thus increasing their crop yields. Additionally, we purchased vegetable seeds that a few of the farmers typically plant in an effort to introduce them to the local diet, and we donated different strains of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. Our farmer groups meet every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to participate in farmer training and work activities.

In January, we worked with our farmers to construct household chicken coops. Each participant was given caging material, 6 chickens, and training on how to take care of the chickens to ensure that they lay eggs daily. Farmers completed this training module during the first week in January, and have been successfully maintaining the coops.

On January 30th and 31st the Agriculture team held the first of our farmer learning journeys, where farmers from surrounding communities who were not part of the program, could come view the techniques that our farmers learned. More than 90 farmers visited our fields over the two-day period. Over the next few weeks, our six student support staff members will be implementing our end line surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.