Creating Opportunity through Peanut Planting in Kabay
In September, staff in MCC’s Desarmes office undertook a rapid livelihood and food security improvement project by helping 23 smallholder farmers in the remote community of Kabay plant peanuts. Women, who head their households and help lead farming cooperative groups, were the majority of participants.
Peanuts are drought-resistant plants, nutritious, and valuable on the market, making them an ideal crop for a short-term, high-impact project. During the project, MCC provided project participants with seed, fencing materials, and expertise on conservation techniques that help protect and enrich depleted soil. The peanut plants pictured above will be ready for harvesting in a few weeks’ time.
Litania Pierre, 44 years old, is a married mother with two children, ages eight and four. She is the president of a small farming group comprised of six other farmers called “Make an Effort.” This was her first time planting peanuts, and she is eager to do so again. She plans to use her profits to buy a goat and pay her children’s school fees. Because of her leadership role in the community, she looks forward to sharing what she’s learned about soil conservation with her fellow farmers so they can benefit, too.
MCC staff Eniel Charles (pictured at left) and Elisamar Michelet (pictured at right) helped the farmers implement the project. They work exclusively in Kabay, and are passionate about what they do. Michelet has worked with MCC for over twenty years and also serves as a local pastor. Eniel is from Kabay and has worked for MCC for just over a year. He appreciates the chance to help his community flourish.
Luma Chaleston, age 56, has five adult children. While he farms manioc, plantains, corn and sugarcane, this is also his first time planting peanuts. When asked what he likes most about the versatile crop, he offered, “Travay se libète” -- the work they provide means freedom: freedom to fund his children’s continuing studies in Port-au-Prince and live self-sufficiently.
The sun rises, offering a final view of soon-to-be-harvested peanut plants.
To read more about the importance of Haitian produced peanuts, and MCC's advocacy efforts to raise awareness about the negative impact of a planned USDA shipments of US peanuts, read Ted Oswald's article: Haitian Farmers to The US Government: "No to free peanuts"