Enabling farmers to plan better and become more efficient.
Upon bringing up the cooperative as a possible solution to Marre-Roseau farmers’ expressed needs and aspirations, they stated that they had never heard of a cooperative. Just eighteen months later, they owned one.
Thus, the first of the five planned regional agricultural cooperatives, CAMA, opened in September 2019 in Marre-Roseau, a 30-village subsection of the Commune of Ganthier. The area has about 20,000 inhabitants and is located at an altitude of 6,000 feet, in the La Selle mountain range. To date, this cooperative has registered 150 members.
[photo] Charles L., farmer, Marre-Roseau, CAMA cooperative, the first EWI co-op. Opened in September 2019, just weeks before the pandemic.
Since farmers here cultivate on a steep incline, they often experience losses from destructive seasonal floods. They can lose their entire harvest in one day. The floods can also destroy the dirt road cutting this community from the rest of the country, and preventing any deliveries to markets. One of the urgent projects here is to mitigate the floods.
Adopting lessons learned from CAMA, CADET is moving much faster. Its leadership committee is dynamic and has more women, which is always a good sign. Women tend to be more organized and focused on action.
Like CAMA, Thoman is also located in the mountain range of La Selle, but it is a plateau, at an altitude of 3,000 feet. From an agricultural point of view, being on a plateau is an advantage as it is less exposed to floods, and the soil maintains more nutrients.
Like Marre-Roseau, Thoman lacks access to water.
CADET women are small merchants who sell a variety of goods in the local and regional markets. They immediately organized themselves into a committee and started a fund to use as a microloan program to replenish their stocks. Once their structure and system are more solidified, EWI will match their fund so they can activate the loan program sooner.
We have previously collaborated with the Galette Chambon community on implementing a literacy program for women. This collaboration established strong ties, and all are looking forward to another opportunity of working together. They signed up to be the third cooperative.
This community is located closer to the foot of the mountain, less than a thousand feet from the base. The mountain slope there is gentle and well suited for agricultural production. The training will start at the end of 2022 aiming to open the cooperative in the second half of 2023.
The locations of these last two cooperatives are inaccessible at this time, as they are in the heart of the local gang’s bases.