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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog


Cotton Export Tutorial in Haiti

Farmers near Gonaives, Haiti, planting cotton seeds are joined by Hugh Locke (middle front) and Timote
Georges (right) of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA). Everyone is wearing Timberland shirts in
acknowledgement that these same items will soon begin to incorporate smallholder-grown organic
Haitian cotton. Photo: Thomas Noreille / SFA

Smallholder farmers near Gonaives, Haiti, are in the midst of planting the first commercial cotton crop this country has seen since 1987. On August 9, some of these farmers gathered to help plant a demonstration farm where other smallholders will be trained in cultivating a crop that was once Haiti’s fourth largest agricultural export. And in a practical tutorial about export markets, the farmers wore cotton shirts from Timberland, the global outdoor lifestyle brand

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What Connects Prince Charles, Jane Goodall and Haiti? Answer: TREES.

A book being published in October with a foreward by HRH The Prince of Wales and an introduction by Jane Goodall will be designated "tree positive" because one new tree will be planted for every copy published--and half those trees will be planted by smallholder farmers in Haiti. Each tree they plant earns farmers the crop seeds, tools and organic agricultural training they need to significantly increase yields and incomes through a model the Smallholder Farmers Alliance has developed called "tree currency."

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Rivers in the Sky: How Deforestation Is Affecting Global Water Cycles

Moisture produced by the world's forests generates rainfall thousands of miles away. Photo: Richard
Whitcombe / Shutterstock

REPRINT > Fred Pearce for Yale Environment 360, Yale School of Forestry 

A growing body of evidence indicates that the continuing destruction of tropical forests is disrupting the movement of water in the atmosphere, causing major shifts in precipitation that could lead to drought in key agricultural areas in China, India, and the U.S. Midwest. 

Every tree in the forest is a fountain, sucking water out of the ground through its roots and releasing water vapor into the atmosphere through pores in its foliage. In their billions, they create giant rivers of water in the air – rivers that form clouds and create rainfall hundreds or even thousands of miles away. 

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Putting Haiti’s Unrest in Context

To understand the riots and violence in Haiti in response to last Friday’s announcement of fuel price increases, you have to go back to 1815 when Simón Bolívar landed in the newly formed nation of Haiti and asked the government of president Alexandre Pétion for arms and soldiers to help liberate various South American countries from Spanish rule. Bolívar’s request was met on the condition that he abolish slavery in all the countries he was helping to set free from Spain, which eventually included Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Bolívar was from Venezuela, and Haiti’s unique role in their gaining independence established a special bond between the two nations that continues to this day. 

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Partnering with Rotary to Plant Trees in Haiti

It would be hard to find a more diverse group than the 25,000 Rotarians from some 175 countries who gathered for their annual international convention last week in Toronto. I noted this in my opening remarks to a breakout session last Tuesday, and then went on to announce a partnership between Rotary and the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) to plant trees in Haiti.

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Sign of Hope in Haiti

This sign was unveiled to mark the start of a partnership between the Haitian Ministry of Environment
and the Smallholder Farmers Alliance, with a special focus on reforestation.

A large sign was unveiled on a rural road in Haiti last week to signal the start of a new partnership between the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) and the Ministry of Agriculture. Located near the farming community of Bayonnais, a few miles from the city of Gonaives, the sign translates as “Let’s together protect trees – trees mean life for all of us.”

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Exploring Cotton Potential in Puerto Rico

Yanna Muriel Mohan, Agricultural Manager of Visit Rico (left) with Timote Georges and Chris Kaput of the
Smallholder Farmers Alliance - Haiti, visit the the women-run textile cooperative "Cooperative Industrial
Creación de la Montaña" in Utuado, Puerto Rico.
GUEST WRITER > Chris Kaput, Smallholder Farmers Alliance

Last year a serendipitous meeting at the Textile Sustainability Conference resulted in an unplanned collaboration between our Haitian farmers and smallholders in Puerto Rico: a spontaneous and unsolicited effort to raise funds ended up helping providing over 100 Puerto Rican smallholder farmers with emergency financial support following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.  

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Tropical Forests Suffered Near-Record Tree Losses in 2017

The western Amazon region of Brazil in September. Photo credit: Carl de Souza/Agence France-Presse
— Getty Images
REPRINT > Brad Plumer for The New York Times

In Brazil, forest fires set by farmers and ranchers to clear land for agriculture raged out of control last year, wiping out more than 3 million acres of trees as a severe drought gripped the region. Those losses undermined Brazil’s recent efforts to protect its rain forests.

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