MFK is Partnering for Success!
Historically, aid in Haiti has been characterized by an almost complete lack of coordination and collaboration between various entities – public and private, as well as for-profit and non-profit. There has been very little consideration of the relative strengths and weaknesses of these institutions, even between those carrying out very similar work. However, with improved coordination, appropriate collaborations could allow the maximization of comparative advantages and, thus, the ability to achieve more with less wasting of resources.
The significance of collaborative, local partnerships has never been clearer for MFK’s Agriculture Department than it has over the last couple of seasons. We now have reliable access to large quantities of high quality Haitian peanuts, something that we have struggled with since our inception. However, this did not happen overnight. Since 2006, MFK Agriculture has been working with local peanut farmers who have participated in countless field days, demonstration plots, and training programs. Over the years, MFK has introduced basic mechanization and provided fundamental inputs and services to these farmers. However, as our operations scaled up it became obvious that we did not have the resources to scale up the reach of this extension programming in the same way. We needed a partner who could take on this work more efficiently.
With the development of the Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corporation, through the Clinton Guistra Enterprise Partnership, we found that partner. Acceso is a for-profit supply chain company, offering commercial services to peanut farmers through microcredit and contract farming. The training modules used throughout the Acceso program are based on the materials developed by MFK and our collaborators. Acceso’s operations in the northeast have taken over a large part of MFK’s extension work in the area, so it is unsurprising that the first beneficiaries were farmers who had previously worked with MFK for several seasons.
This collaboration between MFK and Acceso has seen tremendous success. By encouraging farmer participation in this program and supporting training over the first seasons, MFK assisted in Acceso’s start-up success. In their commitment to training and supporting farmers to produce high quality peanuts, through proven successful modules, Acceso has provided a reliable source of Haitian peanuts to MFK. The success of one organisation means the success of its partner. And the success of both means a widening reach and impact for Haitian farmers. Additionally, an important indirect benefit of this partnership is that with these training and sourcing activities largely covered by Acceso, MFK Agriculture is able to better target our resources to more efficiently conduct our other activities – primarily, peanut research. It is this type of mutually beneficial collaboration that leads to organisational sustainability and to true and enduring benefits for beneficiaries.
Posted by: Dominique LaForest, Agriculture Programs Coordinator – Cap-Haitien, Haiti