PMIL Annual Research Meeting Coming to Haiti!

Our guest blogger this week is Dominique LaForest, MFK Agriculture Fellow.

For the last several weeks, the Agriculture Team has been preparing for the most important event of our year – the Annual Feed the Future Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab (PMIL) Research Meeting[1]. This year is particularly special for MFK, because, for the first time, the meetings will be held outside of the United States and MFK was selected as the first project-country host!

Prior to the Annual Research Meetings, PMIL has organized a workshop – “Priorities for Addressing Mycotoxins in Haiti” – for local stakeholders in Port-au-Prince on June 11th. The Research Meeting will take place at the Hotêl Mont Joli, in Cap-Haitian, June 15th to 19th.

Having collaborated in the previous research program, the Peanut Collaborative Research Support Program (Peanut CRSP), MFK became the lead in-country collaborator for the PMIL-Haiti project in 2013. This was an incredible honor and MFK’s Agriculture Department has been working tirelessly to best implement PMIL-Haiti’s research plan both at our own campus and in other locations in the country. Hosting the annual meeting in Haiti allows MFK a fantastic opportunity showcase our achievements and continued research efforts. The location also offers those in attendance the chance to visit several of the Haiti project’s in-country partners; a Field Day (June 17th) will take participants to stop by an Acceso[2] depot and farmer field, tour the MFK campus and factory, as well as pay a visit to the children and guardians at Second Mile[3] who treat severe cases of malnutrition with MFK-produced RUTF, Medika Mamba.

Along with field visits and reviewing administrative issues, the annual PMIL meeting facilitates greater communication for project partners based in different countries, as well as between various projects. They allow collaborators the opportunity to discuss their individual successes and challenges, while opening the floor to external recommendations and cross-project assistance. This allows for greater knowledge sharing through the exploration of solutions and strategies tested in other project-countries. This is incredibly important because it can save both time and funds, as many PMIL target countries face similar challenges and comparable conditions, which allows the program as a whole to be more efficient.

MFK’s Agriculture Department is thrilled to assist in hosting this meeting and welcoming a tremendous delegation of respected academics and industry-leaders to Haiti!

For more information and to follow us throughout the event period, please like MFK’s Facebook page and follow MFK’s Twitter page.

[1] Find PMIL online at:  http://pmil.caes.uga.edu/news/articles/2015/PMILHaitiMeeting.html

[2] Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corporation is a young social enterprise that works as a middleman in the Haitian peanut value chain; they offer credit, services and a more certain market for local peanut producers. Check them out at: http://cgepartnership.com/our-enterprises/supply/haiti-peanut/

[3] Second Mile Haiti sets severely malnourished children on a road to recovery, while also “empowering their caregivers through health education, agriculture training, and small business opportunities”. Check them out at: http://www.secondmilehaiti.org/

*Photo courtesy of Dr. Bob Kemerait, UGA. This photo was taken at a farmer plot in the central plateau of Haiti. Dr. Tim Brenneman discusses a foliar disease affecting this particular peanut plant.