Agriculture and Livestock Project Update

The seeds you provided are growing tomatoes and cabbage and beans and corn. Families have food and can even take a little “to market” for a small cash crop. The emergency relief food you provided sustained the villagers through the initial earthquake crisis.  The seeds and tools and agriculture training provide the start of a sustainable source of food. The recent report submitted by, Jean Robert, the man who coordinates the Agriculture and Livestock program confirms continuing progress, as well as the ongoing challenges.

The recent funding was used to purchase shovels, hoes, machetes, pitchforks, and rakes.  These were instantly put to use.  We’ve purchased similar tools in the past, but the need to share each between several villagers is a problem.  It’s a huge improvement for everyone as we reduce the number of villagers who have to share each rake.

The recent funding also produced a couple milestones: purchase of a cart and an irrigation pump.  These represent a huge step forward – both in the capabilities they provide and in the symbolic initiative. Individually they might each have only a half dozen tomatoes or cabbages or small amounts of beans.  It was not feasible for each to take small amounts to the local market.  They can now aggregate these small quantities and take a cart-load to market.  The irrigation pump is a statement that they will not be passive victims; they are becoming assertive in changing the environment. They are taking the initiative to start community collaboration to do things which have not been possible as individuals. Although this irrigation pump will only help a few, it is a start.  Of course, they realize they can’t purchase the irrigation pumps by themselves, they will need our help.

Several more families now have a start on raising livestock.  Six seems to be the magic number in the purchase of starter livestock.  The recent report states that they purchased six cows, six sheep, and six goats.  They have also place orders for a half dozen piglets, but delivery is delayed while they search for a healthier and more robust breed.  The previously purchased piglets were susceptible to disease.  The plan to purchase a bull is also adjusted.  They want to make certain that they are getting a strong and healthy genetic bull since the whole village will be depending on it. Therefore, the plan is to purchase stud service until the genetic quality is confirmed.

Jean Robert reports that there are at least 38 more families who have applied for livestock, but we don’t yet have the funds to purchase starter livestock.

For continuing training, Jean Robert is using a combination of group classes and individual “tutoring”.   He is conducting quarterly meetings which provide a combination of expert training by an agronomist as well as sharing among hemselves to helpful experience. While the agronomist training is important by providing improved insights into composting and fertilizers and irrigation, the sharing with each other is gradually building a sense of teamwork and collaboration which improves the whole village.

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