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Smallholder Farmers Alliance Blog


Who Will Speak for Haiti’s Trees?

A hillside near Kenscoff, Haiti, showing the effects of deforestation. Credit: Hector Retamal/Agence
France-Presse — Getty Images

REPRINT > Laurent Dubois for The New York Times

Durham, N.C. — Flying over the mountains into Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a few years ago, I sat next to a volunteer taking her first trip to the country. “I see trees,” she said, pointing down at the hillsides. “They told us there are no trees.”

Foreign descriptions of the country frequently claim it is almost completely deforested; people often reference a striking 1987 National Geographic photograph of the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, forested on one side and barren on the other, as proof. In the common imagination, Haitians literally devour their forests; last week a meteorologist in Florida, describing the impact of Hurricane Matthew, said, “Even the kids there, they are so hungry they actually eat the trees.”

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Hurricane Matthew leaves the farmers and fishermen of Haiti struggling to survive

A family farm in Morne la Source, Haiti, was destroyed after hurricane Matthew. Pat Farrell Miami Herald

REPRINT > Jacqueline Charles for the Miami Herald

MORNE LA SOURCE, HAITI -- Marie-Lucienne Duvert looked out from under the eaves of her mud and wood-frame house, as her husband tried to repair the damaged roof above her head, and tried to come to grips with the expanse of devastation staring back.

“There isn’t even a tree left to catch a breeze,” said Duvert, 63, surveying the once-majestic coconut palm trees that now stood like inverted wet mops and the toppled plantains, avocados and dried-breadfruits littering the ground. “This was our livelihood. Now it’s all gone, destroyed.”

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HAITI: Hurricane Matthew - Situation Report No. 5 (as of 9 Oct 2016)

Source: Civil Protection Directorate via OCHA

Excerpts from a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):

  • According to the last figures issued by the government, it is estimated that 1,410,907 people are in need humanitarian assistance, representing 12.9% of the population of the country (10.9M).
  • According to the last figures issued by the government, it is estimated that 2.1 million people have been affected by Hurricane Matthew. 
  • A total of 336 people were killed by the hurricane in seven departments from south-east to north-west, according to data available at noon on 8 October. 
  • UNICEF and IBESR have assessed 19 residential care centers in Les Cayes, totaling 1.112 children (423 girls), 14 out of the 19 centers have suffered damages.

Full Report available here.

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Path of Hurricane Matthew Through Haiti

Source: National Weather Service, by The New York Times



Haiti After Hurricane Matthew

Click the image above for a Reuters slideshow of 34 photos of the devastation in Haiti.

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Hurricane Matthew Hits Haiti

This photo of the normally bustling city of Les Cayes in southwestern Haiti taken early this morning
by Karl Lee Berlus.

While the media is covering the damage in southwest Haiti where the storm hit directly, what is not being reported is the storm's impact throughout the rural areas further inland. Timote told me that the very heavy rains are preventing the normal operation of local markets and many families do not have access to food as a result. On top of this, many fields are being inundated and crops washed away.

The Smallholder Farmers Alliance is appealing for emergency donations (via our international affiliate, Impact Farming) so that we can prepare to assist farmers and their families to get access to food and replacement seed for their crops.


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Helping small scale farms thrive is the key to feeding our booming world

People dry crops on a farm in Liaocheng, China. (China Daily/via Reuters)

REPRINT > Co-authored by representatives from Heineken, Unilever, Hershey, Sodexo and the Smallholder Farmers Alliance for Quartz

By 2050, we are all going to have a lot more neighbors. According to recent data, the global population is expected to exceed 9 billion people in the next 30 years, with the highest rate of growth occurring in developing countries. This, along with changing diets resulting from a collective rise in income, will require a significant increase in food production, exacerbated by the deleterious effects of climate change.

If we want our children to thrive in the 21st century, then we must immediately grapple with the challenge of feeding our growing population and doing so sustainably. We believe that the solution lies with a demographic that, despite its large constituency, has suffered in the shadows for far too long—the 500 million smallholder farms in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.

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6 Lesser-Known Uses for Sustainable Cotton

Image credit: Flickr/Kimberly VardemanREPRINT > Mary Mazzoni for TriplePundit

Cotton is one of the most widespread and lucrative commodities on earth. Its production supports 250 million people’s livelihoods and employs almost 7 percent of all labor in developing countries.

But the billion-dollar industry finds itself under the microscope, as critics point outenvironmental and human-rights concerns in its supply chain. With this many people depending on the crop, it’s clear that eliminating its use isn’t the answer. Efforts such as the Better Cotton Initiative seek to improve cotton-farming practices, limit environmental damage and prevent labor abuses. Proponents say programs like BCI can improve the cotton supply chain while ensuring people’s livelihoods.

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