PCRSP Visits Haiti

Tim Brenneman and David Jordan are associated with Meds & Food For Kids through a USAID funded project, the Peanut Collaborative Research and Support Project (PCRSP). Both recently joined MFK’s agronomist James Rhoads for a visit to assess trial plots, collect soil samples, plant more than 15 varieties of seed with local growers, collect data, and meet with potential partners for future collaborative efforts.

Tim is a plant pathologist and professor at the University of Georgia. He has a PhD in plant pathology and heads up a university level program that focuses on improving disease management treatment strategies via an integrated approach of cultural practices, resistant germplasm, and wise use of fungicides. David Jordan is a crop science extension specialist and professor at North Carolina State University. He holds a PhD in agronomy and brings many years of professional experience in international activities primarily associated with peanut production and pest management in Ghana, West Africa. Each bring a keen awareness and understanding of the differences in agricultural practices between the United States and Haiti, partly because they recognize the limits of their knowledge and its applicability in an environment so vastly different. This was evident when after a long day in the field spent observing, conversing with local farmers, and learning lessons, Tim talked about the importance of knowing when to take a back seat. Expertise somewhere is not expertise everywhere. “It pays to talk to the locals,” said Tim after a brief visit with a peasant farmer that included a tour of his land. He continued, “This man knows his land. They do a lot more observing than I do. I mean, I’ve never had problems with rats eating peanuts prior to harvesting in the United States where everything is controlled for and easily monitored.” Tim was unlikely to prefer the specific variety of peanuts preferred by the farmer. However, after hearing from the farmer and relying on local knowledge, Tim understood why he would rather put in the extra time doing hard labor in order to produce any yield at all, especially when the other option could be none at all. He reiterates without hesitation, “It pays to talk to the locals.”