The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named Macaya National Park a world heritage with eco-tourism potential. It is one of the few remaining cloud forest reserves in Haiti with avian, mammalian and plant life of global importance. The park which is critical to maintaining access to water and the environmental health of the South Department, including high-value but degraded resources with eco-tourism potential such as the Saut Mathurine waterfall, and the colonial era Avesac irrigation canal, is considered a protected area by local authorities. However, it is heavily deforested due to charcoal production (one of the primary sources of income for farmers), poverty, harmful farming practices, and poor governance.
We will add shade cacao to the existing foundation of fruit trees planted with our help in the area to help add more diversity and economic incentive for farmers to maintain the area’s tree cover. This project will build on the lessons learned from a smaller pilot project ASPVEFS is conducting under the auspices of the UNDP on 18 hectares near the park. It will expand on and refine our current model by taking a more holistic view of the challenges faced by farmers including lack of access to farm inputs, capital, and improved farming techniques and offer practical, scalable, and sustainable solutions to address them. We will also begin laying the foundation to tackle some of the social challenges farming families face including lack of access to quality education, malnutrition, poor sanitation, lack of clean drinking water, and women-centric issues, particularly gender equity.
Participating farmers will receive a “hand-up bundle” consisting of cacao agroforestry training; locally-sourced cacao farm inputs and crops to help ensure food security; access to proper fermentation, drying facilities, and organic fair trade markets which require buyers to pay sustainable prices to farmers and a social premium that the association can invest in social, environmental, and economic development projects to improve the community.
The “bundle” will be financed through in-kind loans to participant farmers with a flexible repayment structure. Using a “business” model to operate the financing system will help create a robust feedback loop between farmers and our staff allowing for constant improvement, sustainable growth, and the eventual integration of many more farmers.
Bird, Macaya Park
Historic Avezac Canal
Hotte Mountain, Macaya Park
Summer fun: historic Avezac canal
Frog, Macaya Park
Casse-cou Canyon, Macaya Park
Bird, Macaya Park
More summer fun: historic Avezac canal
Frog, Macaya Park
Within 4 years of implementing this project, we expect to:
Create at least 200 small cacao farms;
Improve farming techniques by 50 percent;
Decrease decrease participating farmers’ charcoal production by 30 percent;
Iincrease tree cover on participating farms by 50 percent; and
Increase participant’s income by at least 30 percent after their first harvest.
We believe this project is very viable because:
It has strong local buy-in demonstrated by the stated interest of local farmers.
It is based on extensive scientific evidence from studies on agroforestry to restore tropical forests conducted primarily in Cameroun and Brazil.
It will be financed through in-kind loans to participants with a flexible repayment structure, allowing for the eventual integration of many more farmers in the future.
It will market Haiti's own sought-after Criollo variety of fine-flavor cacao, making it competitive with buyers willing to pay a premium for high quality beans.
it will be guided by farmers and other advisors from key sectors of influence in the community to help leverage, link with, and build on recent efforts to improve the important cocoa value chain in the Grande Anse Department situated relatively close to Macaya Park.