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Promotion of small-scale aquaculture and poultry aquaculture and poultry farming for food security in Haiti: TCP/HAI/2903 - Valerio Crespi[6] and Emmanuelle GuerneBleich[7]


This article presents a Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) project associated with the FAO Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS) in Haiti. The project entitled "Diversification Component of the SPFS in Haiti" (TCP/HAI/2903) started in September 2002 and ended in October 2004. This integrated project focussed on improving the contribution of poultry and fish production to household food security. Two FAO technical units were involved directly in this project; the Animal Production Service (AGAP) for the poultry component and the Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service (FIRI) for the fish farming component.

The Republic of Haiti, with over half of its population of 8.1 million below the poverty line, is the poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean. The economy of Haiti, dominated by the agricultural sector, contributes around 32 percent to the GNP, and occupies up to 60 percent of the national labour opportunities. Agriculture is mostly based on traditional, smallholder and production systems, often with considerable involvement of women. The food supply/caput/day of protein at the moment is around 40 gms, 20 grams less than the recommended FAO target of 60 grams.


The overall objective of the project was to increase income and food security and to improve access to a variety of local diets. Integrated poultry and aquaculture production systems were promoted to increase local food production that is sustainable and economic.

Employment opportunities, especially for women and the youth, were generated as well. The poultry and fish culture activities took place in the areas of Dubreuil, Torbeck, Massey (Southern Department) Laverdure, Pérodin (Artibonite Department). The ultimate beneficiaries of the project were the poor and food insecure rural communities, including female-headed households.


A participatory rural appraisal was undertaken at the beginning of the project in order to facilitate the exchange of information and opinion among stakeholders and targeted beneficiaries. In particular, it allowed the synthesis of information about resource supply, production systems and exchanges as proposed in the project strategies. The main conclusions of the appraisal were:

The first phase of the project identified: (a) the most favourable sites for the construction of ponds and chicken houses; and (b) farmer benificiaries based on the following criteria: general interest, motivation and previous experiences. For both components, farmers, technicians and extension staff were trained. For the aquaculture component, training topics included pond construction, pond fertilization, fingerlings stocking, feed supply, fish harvesting and processing. For the poultry component, training subjects included animal husbandry, feeding livestock management and animal health with a focus on Newcastle disease control. Existing training materials available in and outside the country were modified, translated into Creole and distributed to farmers.


Aquaculture Component

About 50 rural farmers were selected and a total of 63 earthen ponds were constructed and/or renewed in the four selected sites (21 ponds in Welch, 26 ponds in Dubreuil, 4 ponds in Massey and 12 ponds in Laverdure, see Fig. 1). Ponds had an average surface of 150 m2 and were fed by the existing local hydraulic system.

Fish farmer from Laverdure, Artibonite Department with harvested common carp (about 800 grams)

Jean Parnell Dimanche

The project carried out several campaigns of fish stocking. A total of 21 000 (3 to 5 grams) fingerlings were freely distributed in the sites during the first production cycle. Forty five fish ponds were stocked using a density of 2-4 fingelings/m2. The main cultured species were Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), common carp (Cyprinus carpio), grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idellus) and silver carp (Hypophthalmichtys molitrix).

Four food production units were installed in each site consisting of small feed mills utilizing agriculture by-products (e.g. rice bran, corn, millet, etc.), in lieu of expensive commercial feed. Fish reared in polyculture utilize different food niches in an aquatic system thereby harnessing maximum possible amounts of nutrients and energy in the form of fish. One production cycle lasted from 6 to 8 months using chicken manure as main source of fertilizer and agriculture by-products as supplementary feed. At the end of one production cycle, fish reached a marketable size size ranging from 350-800 grams, an indication of favourable environmental conditions for good growth. A study on the profitability of fish farming carried out showed that the main costs for the farmers were those related to labour for pond construction, purchase of fingerlings and feed expenditures. Average yearly production estimated for ponds of 150 m2 was 70-80 kg, a good indication of the profitability of such aquaculture venture and especially if coupled with good management. The rate of investment of this fish farming units is from 64.1 to 103.7 percent, where fixed costs for the construction of a pond of 150 m2 can be recovered after two production cycles.

Poultry Component

Five sites were selected for the poultry activities and a total of 608 poultry houses were built with the following breakdown: Massey (19), Welch (80), Dubreuil (102), Laverdure (30) and Pérodin (305) (see Fig. 1). These poultry houses protected chicken from diseases and predators and reduced the heavy losses encountered during young age. Two pilot vaccination campaigns, under the overall management of the producers association, were carried out by training village vaccinators. A total of 25 000 chickens were vaccinated during these two operations, which covered not only all the project sites but also extended to all the poultry owned by the beneficiaries. Mortality rate was reduced from 65 percent to 51.35 percent. A total of 22 770 eggs and 12 168 chicks were produced during the time frame of the project. Only in some cases where adult hens were sold as producers prefer to keep them to increase their production. The first phase of the project has proved the general motivation of the producers to follow simple improved husbandry technologies. The project carried out simple interventions including improvement in housing, animal health and supplementation especially of the chicks and these has lead to a positive response from the beneficiaries.

Poultry vaccination operation against Newcastle disease (Dubreuil, Southern Department)

Valerio Crespi, FAO


The integrated units created during the project represented 43 percent of the fish farming activities and 5.4 percent of the poultry activities. There are numerous advantages in having the two activities integrated in the production units, these are: (a) integration reduces costs on fertilizers and feeds in fish culture and maximizes benefits; (b) chickens can be raised over or adjacent to the ponds and the poultry excreta recycled to fertilize the fish ponds; and (c) raising chicken close to the pond maximizes the use of space, saves labour in transporting manure to the ponds and makes the poultry house more hygienic.

Water coming from fish ponds allowed the watering of the agriculture fields. Dead fish and fish side products were used to feed the chicken. The mills, provided by the project to crush agriculture byproducts to produce feed for fish, were also used for poultry.

Figure 1. Distribution of the chicken/fish farmers by site

A database was developed to store all the production data collected at site level for both components. The database allows basic data analysis for management purposes.


Social and political tensions during 2004 strongly affected the results of this project. The crisis and the flood disaster during the same year resulted to increased vulnerability of the beneficiaries. Erosion of social, economic, infrastructural and environmental assets increased violence and insecurity in urban areas. Despite these circumstances, the project, nevertheless, generated enthusiasm amongst the beneficiaries who applied new technologies of both components and achieved positive results.

An example of integrated production unit. A chicken house built close to the fish pond (Dubreuil, Southern Department)

Jean Parnell Dimanche

The aquaculture and the poultry activities associated with the SPFS in Haiti have demonstrated that real benefits can be derived from affordable and practical interventions. The project provided the inputs for subsequent groups of beneficiaries to participate in the project. Access to major agriculture inputs through local management of the producers association and technical training also contributed to the success. The creation of income generation for women and young people in the selected villages was also a major achievement of the project.

This project has been positively received by donors. A follow-up proposal was formulated and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has accepted to fund the project Phase II, as an extension using the model developed by this project.

A typical Haitian rural household (Massey, Southern Department)

Valerio Crespi, FAO

Farmers constructing a fish pond under the supervision of the project national consultant (Laverdure Artibonite Department)

Valerio Crespi, FAO


FAO/ICLARM/IIRR. 2001. Integrated agricultureaquaculture: a primer. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 407. Rome, FAO. 2001. 149 p.

IRD/IDRC/FAO/NACA/ICLARM. 2001. Utilizing Different Aquatic Resources for Livelihoods in Asia: a Resource Book. International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, International Development Research Centre, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific and International Center for Living Resources Management. 416 p.

Little, D.C. and Edwards, P. 2003. Integrated livestock-fish farming systems. Rome, FAO.177 p.

FAO. 2003. Simple methods for aquaculture. Méthodes simples d’aquaculture. Rome, FAO. CD-ROM.

FAO. 2003. Good practices in planning and management of integrated commercial poultry production in South Asia. Rome, FAO. 95 p.

FAO. 2004. Small-scale poultry production. Technical guide. FAO Animal Production and Health Manuals. Rome, FAO. 124 p.


The authors wish to thank the staff of the FAO Representation in Haiti, particularly Mr Amadou Moustapha Kamara and Mr Volny Paultre for their valuable assistance and support during the project.

[6] Valerio Crespi
Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service
FAO Fisheries Department, Rome e - mail:
[7] Emmanuelle GuerneBleich
Animal Production Service
FAO Aquaculture Department, Rome e - mail:

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