Building Sustainable Business Opportunities in Haiti w/ AgricultureSinging Rooster has been investing in small producer farmers in Haiti for over a decade. We launched operations with Haitian coffee farmers in 2009 and became 501c3 nonprofit in 2010. We’ve increased yields, planted hundreds of thousands of new coffee trees (and shade tree canopies), renovated hundreds of farms, and improved processing techniques. We’ve taught business management skills to small farmer co-ops, and we’ve created in-roads to markets. We’ve, literally, put millions directly into the pockets of farmers. Why? Coffee was a once significant crop and can be a major factor in Haiti’s path to self-sustainability (job creation, dignity). But we’re quick to recognize that only a handful of communities can make livings from coffee agriculture (those living high on the mountainsides, those who’ve grown coffee for decades, those who have a semblance of a coffee processing infrastructure). If your community doesn’t fall into this small group, don’t fret. Helping your Haitian partners to create local food sources through big, medium or small agriculture investments will have significant impact locally. Not convinced? Read more –>
Want long-lasting impact in Haiti? Want to create jobs, business ops, self-sustainability?If you’re looking to create long lasting change in Haiti, agriculture employs thousands. Employ farmers, and rural economies begin to flourish. Children value communities and don’t move to the depressing city. Farmers (not wealthy middleman companies) spend earnings in Haiti. Support Haiti’s current farmers (coffee, cacao, rice, avocado, mangoes), eat local produce (just say NO to U.S. rice!), then invest in future farmers by developing an army of backyard, community gardeners. Motivating Statistics:
- Haiti is often called a Republic of NGOs for good reason. In 1998, the World Bank estimated up to 20,000 non governmental agencies operating in Haiti (includes church-based nonprofits).
- Those numbers likely increased after the 2010 earthquake during which CNN reported over 40,000 NGO workers and volunteers are in Haiti on any given day. NGOs provide Haiti with necessary stability through ideas, leadership, tools, equipment, resources and money.
- Half of all clean drinking water is provided by NGOs
- 85% of all schools are private, run by NGOs
- 70% healthcare is provided by NGOs (but there’s a catch 22 w/ free healthcare; it puts Haitian clinics and doctors out of business)
- With rampant unemployment (66%), jobs are few. All those schools pumping out educated kids – with no place to go.
- Haiti imports over 60% of its food (this is a BIG hint with how you may best impact Haiti with job creation)
- 2.2 billion rolls into Haiti annually from Diaspora — that’s 33% of the Gross Domestic Product
- Trump’s plan to kick out 60,000 Haitians who’ve been living in the U.S for a decade+ under TPS may flood Haiti with people who’ve been educated or trained in the U.S. (imagine Haitians who stayed in Haiti competing w/ these folks)
Then DEMAND Governments spend money differently:Haiti has 32,000 children who languish unnecessarily in over 750 orphanages. At least 80% of these kids have one or two living parents who want them, but have no access to health, education or social services. More importantly, even if those services did exist, parents couldn’t afford them as stable employment is rare.
- Gross National Income per capita is $1730. The average for Caribbean/Latin Americans is $14,098 (World Bank 2014)
- 59% of the population lives on less than $2 per day (World Bank 2012)
- Poverty is mainly rural, at 75.2%,vs. 40.8% in urban areas (MDG rpt 2013)
- Over two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs (CIA Factbook 2014)
- 30% of the population is considered food insecure (World Food Programme 2015)
- Infant mortality is 55 per 1000 births (UNICEF 2015)
- 59 per 1,000 born in Haiti die before reaching their first birthday (Ministry of Health 2012)
- Under five mortality rate: 88 per 1000 live births (Ministry of Health 2012)
- 1 in 285 births result in the mother’s death — 16 times higher than in the U.S. (Partners in Health 2014)
And it’s not just the money. Our soldiers come back maimed and damaged in ways that are and aren’t so obvious; their families and communities suffer for decades.
Until we ask the tough questions, like why do we choose hatred, ego, and fear over love, respect, and peace? we’ll continue down an ugly path of destruction.
Hatred breeds hatred.Mom always said “Kill him with kindness.” Mom was right.
Until we come together as humans to agree on the things that matter (clean water, food and job security, safety, shelter, education, medicine?), we’ll continue to perpetuate nonsense with an end result where everybody loses. Yes, mom wants a little recognition this weekend; but let’s honor mothers of the world by asking the tough questions then getting to work to make changes.#motherofallbombsisepoverty (stupidity, ego, fear, hatred) What’s your idea of coming together to ask then solve the tough questions? #yourcupmatters
In a country where unemployment hovers around 66%, over a third of the GDP is western union and 60% of the food is imported, we need to bring the hammer down on creating sustainable jobs & it begins by investing in Agriculture.With a majority of Haitians living as small-holder farmers, supporting Haiti’s current farmers in the U.S. AND in Haiti (coffee, cacao, rice, avocado, mangoes), then investing in future farmers — developing an army of backyard, community gardeners becomes a BIG part of the business opportunity solution. Take Coffee for Example — read more about Singing Rooster’s work w/ coffee farmers
Recommendation #1: Change starts in your own cupBy simply changing what you put in your own coffee cup, you’ll infuse rural economies overnight. Singing Rooster can’t presently sell all of the coffee we have access too. We regularly turn away farmers who want to join one of our partner groups. If you can convince your own family, friends, and congregation to switch to Haitian coffee, this impacts Haiti significantly.
- put Haitian coffee in your morning cup
- serve it at coffee hour
- convince the boss at work to switch to Haitian coffee
- assign youth groups to monthly coffee carts
Recommendation #2: Eat Local / Stop eating white rice when in Haiti (80% comes from the US)Tell your Haitian partners that when you visit (there are tens of thousands of us there every day), you refuse to eat white Rice. If rice is served, ask that they revert to pre-Clinton rice dumping days and serve rice once or twice weekly (Haitian elders will tell you that’s how it was decades ago — rice was a treat, eaten on Sundays). Insist that when you are served rice, it is rice grown in Haiti. Be warned, it’s more expensive (Haitian farmers don’t receive heavy subsidies like US farmers). Where to buy Haitian rice? We’re thinking of launching an eat local food distribution center at our new roastery in Croix des Bouquets. If your group is near us, let’s talk. Other ways to help push Haiti forward:
- bring your own refillable water bottle (refuse bottled water – always; demand that your guesthouse not sell bottled water but do provide refillable water stations)
- bring your own Tupperware — no more Styrofoam moat (then leave behind for fellow visitors)
Recommendation #3: revamp community projects & the school curriculum around agricultureAn entire curriculum of language-learning, math & science can be situated around community gardens: chemistry of soil analysis, biology of plant species, marketing crops to local consumers, health education through cooking local. Create a task force of educators & other interested parties. There are so many resources to fuel the work: Rationale for Garden Based Learning Rationale for Gardens as context for Science Garden Curriculum K-8 School Gardens — A ton of useful materials Start a classroom garden by following these basic steps Utilize our garden lesson plans for connections to Common Core standards and children’s literature Apply for school garden funds from Growing Minds Download and customize our This Week in the Garden weekly activity guides for your school garden, or use them as they are! Tips for gardening with students Bountiful Grains – vegetable garden layout How to Plant a vegetable garden Why creating learning opportunities in Haiti around agriculture is important:
- reciting isn’t learning; situating learning around meaningful activities engages learners
- creates future farmers / gardeners means less dependence on foreign food
- creates future jobs — gardeners sell local produce to the local markets
- produce feeds students at the school
- a better, more nutritious diet (starchy rice sits in the gut; vitamins from veggies = fuel for the brain)