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OPODNE crafts vision and agenda for self-sustainable agriculture in Northeast Haiti

Over the past three months, OPODNE leaders have gone house-to-house in 22 communities in which the organization works to ask more than 2,000 small farmers what they need to survive and prosper. Farmers have told them they need tool banks so that they can share affordable tools, access to small loans, advice from agronomists on how to adapt the crops to drought and climate change, better irrigation, and improved roads to get their products to market. OPODNE is now returning to each of the 22 communities to share the results of the listening campaign and craft a shared agenda for making small-scale agriculture sustainable in the Northeast. Haiti’s political crisis has left local and regional governments without resources or permanent leadership. However, USAID and international NGOs have been given tens of millions of dollars to improve agriculture in Haiti. Past international development efforts have often bypassed local knowledge and organizations. International donors have focused on crops and strategies that do not work for small farmers and spent most of their funds on overhead and administration in Washington, DC, and Port-au-Prince. Knowing this, OPODNE has engaged USAID and Catholic Relief Services and is pressing for them to support the priorities of local residents. At the request of USAID, OPODNE provided a list of 19 tools identified by local farmers as important for tool banks, along with the estimated (modest prices for each tool). OPODNE will be ratifying its agenda for agriculture at a general assembly on August 20. They will continue to press foreign donors to listen to the wisdom of local leaders and invest funds in local priorities.

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