Deforestation, accelerated by the need to burn wood for cooking, is a national disaster in Haiti. Programs to plant trees are hampered by the lack of alternative fuels and the fact that domestic animals are not penned in and destroy vegetation and seedlings regularly. Educating the rural populations to understand the synergy between forest, rainfall and the survival of their livelihood is a priority with many aid organizations, but hasn’t yet captured the imagination of the average farmer and market woman, nor of the government.
Inspired by Father Gabriel Julmice, in 1995 our program received its first grant to plant seedlings and hire an agronomist to educate villagers. Three plots of seedlings were started and a fruit tree seedling was given to 400 villagers to plant in their backyards. Ideas were floated by the pastor in Pignon to give each family a seedling when their child was baptized, and to make it their obligation to protect these new trees. While the plots and the education continue, progress has been very slow as alternative fuels are too costly for the average villager.
In 2013-2015 a major reforestation project under the direction of our veterinarian/agronomist, Moussanto Dantil and his assistants, has been undertaken. In the end over 17,000 seedlings will have been planted in various parts of Pignon area.. Plantings are or will be of moringa oleifera, coffee, cacao, papaya, mango, benzolive, coconut and citrus trees.. Training of beneficiaries and workers is improving the yields considerably. This is an ongoing project...
In 2017, Moussanto opened the first vocational school in Pignon for agriculture and veterinarian science. Thirty students were enrolled in this three year program. We are looking for sponsors to ensure the longevity of this program.