This past Monday was Earth Day. How fitting is it then that our group should be in Haiti working in the garden and discussing agricultural projects with MPP?
The leaders of MPP are certain that climate change has caused the recent droughts in Haiti. I am not as convinced that these dry conditions are the “new normal” for this country but it is clear that drought is a harsh reality at the present time and must be considered when choosing crops to cultivate. Success of agricultural projects is important to the people of the EcoVillages. We have funded several agricultural projects to generate income for the operation of the school.
Manioc is a root crop that is drought tolerant and is used to produce products such as cassava and tapioca. We were served cassava with peanut butter for breakfast while staying at the MPP guesthouse. Cassava is a staple in the diet of many in developing countries. MPP has acquired the equipment to transform the manioc into cassava. No income for the school has been produced from this crop as yet because the plants need a minimum of 18 months after planting to mature before being harvested. We hope that the planting we funded will start producing income for the school in the next 6 months or so.
Another cash crop is moringa. This protein-rich plant is used as a nutritional supplement when other sources of protein are scarce. The young leaves are ground into powder and used as a food additive. The older leaves are used to make other products such as soap. The oil from the seeds has medicinal value and the seed pods can be used as feed for goats.
submitted by Chris Calia