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Haiti: A New Northeast Haiti Community Seed Bank Brings Hope to Small-Scale Farmers

The People’s Organization for the Development of Haiti (OPODNE) and the Centre d’Agriculture Saint Barnabas (CASB) launched a Community Seed Bank to provide farmers in Northeast Haiti with high-quality affordable seeds. OPODNE and CASB began a pilot project with $17,000 in donations to lend seeds to farmers in four communities for the spring planting season.

The Seed Bank will make it possible for farmers to borrow seeds and return more seeds after their harvest. OPODNE and CASB agronomists will work with farmers to determine which seeds are best to plant, given continuing drought conditions.

OPODNE decided to move ahead with the Seed Bank despite USAID’s decision not to provide funding.  Although USAID is spending more than $100 million on agriculture projects in Northeast and North Haiti, its funding is not focused on the inputs that local farmers need to adapt to drought. Nor is funding being managed by Haitian organizations. Through A Way Forward in Haiti, Faith in Action International and OPODNE are working with diaspora communities and friends of Haiti to persuade USAID to make local Haitian farmers a bigger part of the agency’s response to rising hunger.

OPODNE is now organizing in 56 communities in Northeast Haiti in four communities in North Haiti, with grassroots teams that meet weekly to listen to their neighbors, vote on community priorities, and take action to rebuild roads, clean wells, and start cooperatives and micro-loan programs. Under Florcie Tyrell’s leadership, OPODNE doubled the number of communities it works with over the past year and opened a new chapter in the North Department.

Read more about three keys to progress in Haiti.

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