Of all Haitian farmers, more than 95% are smallholders who work on farms averaging 2.3 acres. Most work by themselves without a support structure. They do help each other during harvests (“conbit”) but with scanty means, the results are limited.
The same communities we are working with today have been living in deeply entrenched poverty for the past two hundred years. Their villages have no water, sewage, or power.
And yet, despite these deplorable conditions, these farmers, contribute 20% of Haiti’s GDP. An outstanding result by any measure.
While attending our training sessions, they invited us to partner with them and we accepted.
Before designing a regional development program, we organized numerous open village meetings to ask farmers what they needed and aspired to. Based on their input, we launched the Talia Farms Program, an integrated regional development initiative for the Lake Azueï region that addresses farmers' essential needs in four interrelated areas:
Projects within the Talia Farms Program vary somewhat depending on each cooperative’s overall land topography, accessible natural resources, and the development committee’s skills and resourcefulness.
Our first cooperative, CAMA, is located in Marre-Roseau, an area whose highest farms are at an altitude of 6,000 feet. There, farmers cultivate on steep inclines, and there is no water except for rainwater. Our second cooperative, CADET, is located on a different mountain but at an altitude of 3,000 feet and on a plateau. Projects farmers choose will vary according to their altitude and existing resources.