MFK’s Second Farmer Field Day
The MFK Agriculture Team was pleased to host the second Farmer Field Day for 2016. All 60 farmers from MFK’s extension groups in the Ouanaminthe communities of Savane au Lait and Gens de Nantes attended. A bus picked up the attendees in their home communities and brought them to the activity. To start, the MFK Agriculture team, farmers, and student interns travelled to the Tozia community in Plaine-du-Nord to visit Première Steppe Ferme (PSF), an MFK partner organization operating in large-scale agriculture production and peanut seed multiplication. The farmers were first taken to visit an MFK research plot conducted on PSF’s land in Tozia. This was a variety trial in which several improved lines developed by breeder Dr. Kim Moore of ACI Seeds were tested alongside the local landrace varieties common in Northern Haiti. Elizé Léandre and Rick Macajoux, MFK agronomists, discussed MFK and PMIL’s agriculture research work with the farmers. The farmers were very attentive and asked good questions about input usage, varietal performance, and other issues related to crop management and yield.
After briefly visiting PSF’s plantain plantation and the ruins of a French colonial-era sugarcane mill on PSF’s land, the group next visited the peanut seed multiplication plots. Two PSF staff, Wilfrid Varice and Dave Graffenberger, presented the organization’s seed multiplication work to the farmers, explained the workings of mechanized agriculture, and described how PSF seeds end up being distributed to farmers such as themselves through Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corporation. The farmers enjoyed seeing the difference between plots with both insufficient and proper weed control, and how management practices can affect weed conditions in the field.
The group then traveled to MFK’s factory, where they had lunch and visited the production facility and the research plots there. The farmers were intrigued to see how locally procured peanuts purchased in Ouanaminthe and surrounding areas are transformed into nutritional products on the ground in Haiti. They enjoyed going into the peanut depot and processing areas, seeing the boxes of finished product and raw materials in the depot, and peering through the door into the production room to see Medika Mamba production at work. They were also interested in the variety and breadth of research trials currently being conducted in the plots directly behind the factory.
After the visit, the farmers boarded the bus to travel back to their respective communities in Ouanaminthe. It was a pleasure for the MFK Agriculture Team to be able to interact with our student interns and extension group farmers and to show them more about our work as well as the possibilities that exist for ramping up peanut production in Haiti. We would like to thank donors, MFK staff, and others who contributed to making this event a success, and look forward to hosting another Farmer Field Day in early 2017.