Here’s the latest update from CRS’ program manager for Haiti, Greg Elder. He’s working with emergency responders and keeping us informed on conditions following massive storm damage in August and September.
In the southern departments of Haiti we’ve been doing agricultural activities for a long time. We are now complementing this by using Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) funds to help farmers get back on their feet. We will be starting seed fairs in January, and will supplement this with farming tools and animals.
These seed fairs will be a CRS first in Haiti. We’re training local farmers and seed merchants on how a seed fair works. We’ll then set a date and organize the varieties of seeds being sold and set prices with the vendors in order to ensure they bring the seeds that the farmers need at prices they can afford.
We will provide vouchers to farmers so that they can purchase the seeds they most need. It’s widely accepted as one of the best methods to provide agricultural assistance. You’re not only helping farmers who need seeds, but you’re helping local providers who make their livelihoods from the sale of seeds. We are essentially creating a market chain to build relationships that will help them in the future.
Every little bit helps in achieving our goal of getting Gonaives and Haiti back to normal. We’re helping families leave the shelters and return to their homes, and we’re helping kids return to school. That is the main progress we’ve made so far.
– Greg Elder
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