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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog


Haitian Smallholder Farmers Set to Benefit from Blockchain Technology

Background photo shows the SFA cotton field trial site near Gonaives, Haiti, where 15 varieties are being
tested prior to large scale cultivation of cotton by smallholder farmers starting this summer.

While the Bitcoin bubble seems to be deflating almost daily, its underlying 'blockchain' technology is being hailed as a breakthrough in rendering data unhackable. This blockchain innovation is now being tested for an astonishing range of applications, everything from improving the security of cloud data storage to preventing the theft of online identities. And Haiti is on the cutting edge of this testing with the announcement of a Blockchain Cotton Project that will benefit the country's smallholder farmers.

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Haitian Farmers Get Early Christmas Gift That Keeps on Giving

Livestock earned with tree currency arrive near the southern Haitian community of Laborde.

Christmas came early for a group of farmers in southern Haiti with the arrival earlier this month of 22 goats, 9 cows and 5 bulls. The entire community greeted the livestock with much cheering, clapping and more than a few tears of joy. The delivery represented a major milestone in recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in October of 2016.

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TEDx Talk - Trees are Financing a Farming Revolution in Haiti

You are invited to watch my recent TEDx talk on the work of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance in Haiti. This short video tells the unlikely story of how a humanitarian worker, an agronomist and a shoe company joined forces to plant some trees and ended up launching an agricultural revolution. Find out how trees have now become a form of currency that smallholder farmers are using to grow more food, combat climate change and empower women... with implications far beyond the borders of Haiti

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Sustainable Cotton Raises Funds for Puerto Rico

LaRhea Pepper (right), Managing  Director of Textile Exchange, presenting a check to Yanna Muriel
Mohan, Agricultural Manager of Visit Rico, with Timote Georges (left), Executive Director of the
Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) and Hugh Locke (second from left), President of the SFA and
President of Impact Farming. 

On October 11, 2017 leading figures in the sustainable cotton field from around the world were attending the Textile Exchange Sustainability Conference in Washington, D.C. and heard a heart-wrenching first-person report from farmer Yanna Muriel Mohan about the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria on organic smallholder farmers in Puerto Rico.

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Connecting Cotton and Trees Signals New Hope for Farmers in Haiti

The reintroduction of cotton to Haiti began with seeds planted in SFA field trials by (left to right) Thony
Thomas, smallholder farmer; Atlanta McIlraith, Timberland; Pierre Marie Du Mény, Haitian Minister of
Commerce and Industry; Hugh Locke, SFA; Timote Georges, SFA; Nerlande Dautarn, smallholder farmer;
Rémillot Léveillé, noted agronomist who is known as the “father of cotton” in Haiti. The tree seedlings,
transplanted elsewhere after this ceremony, symbolize the unique connection being made between trees
and cotton in the SFA model. Photo credit: SFA/Thomas Noreille.

Cotton is back in Haiti after a 30-year absence, having once been the country's fourth largest agricultural export. Global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland, the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) and Haiti's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Pierre Marie Du Mény, have together announced the reintroduction of cotton as an anchor crop to help revitalize farming, boost the economy and contribute to environmental restoration through being linked to tree planting.

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Farmers in Haiti Get Agricultural Support… and Shoes?

Farmers in the Laborde area in southern Haiti trying on their new Vans shoes. The gift had special meaning
because of how much these farmers lost when Hurricane Matthew caused so much damage in their area.

It began as a simple question. Would the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA)  like a gift of 4,000 pairs of shoes for our farmer members in Haiti?

The question had been posed by Timberland, our long-time sponsor and soon-to-be client (when we reintroduce cotton to Haiti). But the offer was not for Timberland footwear, but rather shoes made by Vans. Both companies are owned by the VF Corporation and have factories near each other in the neighboring Dominican Republic. Sun Jade International, the factory that manufactures Vans shoes, worked closely with Timberland to facilitate the donation.

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Good News, Despite What You’ve Heard

John Brimah, on the back of a motorbike, had leprosy as a child and is now in charge of a leprosy,
hospital in Ganta, Liberia. Photo credit Monique Jaques for The New York Times.

REPRINT > Nicholas Kristof for The New York Times

GANTA, Liberia — Cheer up: Despite the gloom, the world truly is becoming a better place. Indeed, 2017 is likely to be the best year in the history of humanity. 

To explain why, let me start with a story. I’m on my annual win-a-trip journey with a university student, who this year is Aneri Pattani, a newly minted graduate of Northeastern University. One of the people we met is John Brimah, who caught leprosy as a boy.

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Rainforest Alliance, UTZ Merge to Create Single Agriculture Sustainability Standard

REPRINT > Sustainable Brands

Two of the world’s leaders in sustainable agriculture and certification, Rainforest Alliance and UTZ have announced plans to merge later this year in an effort to simplify the certification process for sustainable agriculture.

Under the name Rainforest Alliance, the organization will continue to address environmental and social issues around the world, including climate change, deforestation, poverty and unsustainable farming. It will create a single global certification standard by 2019 that will streamline certification for farmers and empower companies to build more responsible supply chains, more efficiently. It will also work to expand advocacy efforts and through new partnerships ensure conservation of entire landscapes in priority regions from India to Indonesia and Guatemala to Ghana.

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