Thursday, April 27, 2017

Harvest with a Smile

agriculture projects Haiti

Emmanuel with his corn harvest

Farmers in Haiti learn new skills to increase their crop yield

“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6, NKJV).

For a year and a half, my staff members and I have been working with a group of farmers in the rural areas of Trouin. Our goal is to help the farmers with new farming technology in order to improve crop production and household food consumption. The work is rough and tedious since everything is done manually, including land preparation, digging holes, sowing seeds, and everything required to harvest the crops. This work is typical for many of our farmers in Trouin.

agriculture projects Haiti

Emmanuel with his okra harvest

Leger Emmanuel, from the area of Gerard in Trouin, is one of 80 small-scale farmers that benefits from this program. He has been farming for more than 25 years to provide for his wife and 13 children. Laborious and applying antiquated techniques, his work was often in vain, leaving him penniless and with not enough food to sustain him and his large family. However, after adapting to and applying the new learned techniques we provided him, he says his recent crop yielded at least five times the amount it did in previous years.

“I am very satisfied with my harvest this year as compared to [the] last five years,” Emmanuel said. “I am now receiving a reward for my hard work.”

Curious about some good quality seed I watched him select, I asked him, “Why you are you selecting those?”

“I am saving for next season, and I am sharing this with my neighbors,” he said with a smile.

His vision for his community is to share the good farming techniques and the good seed varieties he received from the project.

When we first started working with the farmers, they were making many mistakes with their agriculture techniques. Some of them didn’t dig holes but simply scattered seed on an open field where it was often eaten by the birds. Others dug holes, but the holes were often too deep and the seedlings never surfaced from the soil to receive the sunlight required for them to prosper. But after receiving this proven farming technique training, they applied it to their lives. And consequently, all the farmers in our group are seeing a significant increase in their crop yield. This is even in spite of challenging weather conditions.

Personally, I thank God that Samaritan’s Purse is offering this program to our farmers, and I feel proud when I see the smiles of grateful farmers like Emmanuel. Indeed, the harvest is great, but the laborers are happy to replenish their storehouses.

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