Farmers Growing Change in Haiti

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Madame Marie Lourdes Acene

Marie-Farmer-Haiti

Marie Lourdes Acene. Photo by MFK

Madame Marie Lourdes Acene is a Haitian mother, grandmother, community leader, business woman and farmer. To earn a living, Marie buys, repairs and resells shoes as well as grows and sells peanuts and beans. Her husband, a chauffeur, is currently ill, so the responsibility of supporting their six children and some of their six grandchildren falls primarily on Marie.

Marie’s parents grew small quantities of peanuts, a tradition she carried on for many years. However, before last year, Marie hadn’t grown peanuts for nearly a decade. The cost of growing peanuts was just too high.

Undaunted by her peanut past, Marie joined the agriculture training program offered by our grantee partner alum Meds and Food for Kids (MFK) and achieved amazing results. By working with the MFK team, Marie harvested 232 kilos of peanuts — more than any other farmer in the training group!

MFK’s agriculture program teaches farmers low-cost methods to improve the quality and yields of their peanuts, and it’s clearly working!

Marie is a leader in her community and was responsible for organizing the group of farmers into a kombit, which she hoped would help them save money. The kombit is a traditional Haitian system where farmers help one another prepare, weed and harvest in exchange for a full meal and lively company each day that they work. This expression of communal generosity is expressed in a song that Marie wrote in honor of her experience with MFK.

At her final training session, she shared her song:

MFK's Project,
Is a project for farmers,

 

Listen to the Song-Haiti 


They're helping us work,
And also helping us make money.
What's great as well,
We get excellent training sessions.

We make more friends, and relationships are strengthened.
We make more friends, and relationships are strengthened.


It is through the generosity of the Inter-American Foundation, the USAID's Peanut Collaborative Research Support Program, the Conservation Food and Health Foundation and the Prem Rawat Foundation that we can make these life-changing programs possible.

Agriculture Highlight: By working with MFK to produce more and better peanuts, farmers like Marie have been able to increase their income sixfold (from $113 per harvest to $645 per harvest). — Gabriela Salazar, MFK Agricultural Development Fellow.