Tuesday, January 8, 2013

HTRIP Year-End Highlights

Dear readers and contributors,

If you ask any number of people what December calls to their minds, many will say the holidays and family time. Farmers in the Artibonite, however, will say that it’s time to sow black turtle beans in the ground. For us at HTRIP, December marks the end of one more year of accomplishments, which of course includes measurable growth for the trees that we have planted in the mountains of the Artibonite region. Throughout this year, we have helped our sixty HTRIP communities in diverse ways: by providing them with tools for their tree nurseries, building cisterns to catch water, sponsoring different konbits (community work groups), and organizing monthly training sessions about environmental care. Even though we have had some changes in the management of the project and at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS), our commitment to improve livelihoods of the people living in the mountainous areas in the Artibonite stronger than ever.
HTRIP is looking forward for 2013 and a new year,
while acknowledging our many achievements in 2012.

Challenges such as drought, hurricanes, and flooding slowed down some of our activities through the year of 2012. For example, tree distribution and plantation activities in some communities were delayed. Farmers in many areas had to deal with the loss of crops and livestock suffered due to hurricane damage. Still, we have managed to keep the project going by completing all the monthly training sessions for our HTRIP community leaders and participants. We have even worked to strengthen the capacity of our staff, introducing seminars led by agronomist and Haitian native, Rony Horat, who joined the HTRIP team in November. Last month we had a seminar about grafting and January’s seminar focused on the cultivation of yams and other tubers that enjoy shady areas.

Water catchment put up by HTRIP in Laborne.
Rony is currently engineering several agricultural strategies that will enable the project to go forward with one of its primary goals: improving agricultural production in the mountainous areas of the Artibonite where the environment is severely degraded. Rony’s first strategy is to emphasize the cultivation of upper land: shade tolerant coffee in the district of Verettes (which includes the HTRIP communities such as Barbe, Laborne, and Remonsen), where the high elevation facilitates the growing of coffee trees. His other approach supports the shade-tolerant crops program that HTRIP has been leading since 2011. These two plans require four levels of implementation in order to create a good ecological model for the long term. We at HTRIP will keep you, our readers and supporters in the loop regarding the development of those four steps throughout the year of 2013.

As we alluded to before in this letter, HTRIP has been promoting the yam as a good shade-tolerant crop that has the ability to climb trees to the top without harming the trees’ growth. By visiting older HTRIP communities such as Source Dupon, Titon, and Goden where the trees are now quite large and tall, it is possible to envision a symbiotic relationship between the shade and height of the HTRIP trees and many shade-grown crops like yam, taro and passion fruit. However, we are focusing on the yam because it is already a popular crop in Haiti; yams can be consumed in many ways and it is a big money-maker in local markets. We like yams so much, that we even have a place in the Artibonite called Terre Igname, which means “Yams’ Land” in English!
HTRIP's cabbage field experiment on the HAS Campus.

We also have started with the idea of introducing HTRIP gardens in the residences on the HAS campus. This effort will serve two purposes: to experiment with shade-grown crops, and to beautify the HAS campus. This month we have planted eighty-one seedlings of cabbage using Dr. Charbel Bien Aime’s back yard. With this trial planting, we will be able to see how well cabbage can be grown with limited sunlight.

Although this is just a sampling of some of our latest achievements, we are proud of all the activities that we have done during this year, and very thankful of all the support that we have received from our generous supporters and followers. It is with confidence and excitement that we are welcoming 2013, as we have already set up our main goals for our nurseries. Our staff, landowners, farmers, and community members are all driven by a common objective of producing more than four-hundred thousand seedlings in 2013.

We greatly appreciate the generosity of our supporters and the zeal of our readers for always helping us working towards our goals.


The HTRIP Staff, including Melissa Sanon, Starry Sprenkle, and Rony Horat