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Banave Sévère's crops grow better on restored land

Small farmers in Haiti reap benefits of Action Against Desertification’s land restoration efforts


21/09/2018

Bonbon, Haiti - “Look at the size of this potato,” says Banave Sévère, a fifty-year old farmer from the commune of Bonbon in Haiti’s south-western Grand’Anse department. “They would never have been this big before,” he adds.

It happened when he started growing crops in combination with trees and shrubs, Banave says, a practice known as agroforestry. “My potatoes grow better now, because the trees help keep the soil humid. They also protect from the scorching sun. And I make more money, because some trees bear fruits that I can sell.”

Banave Sévère is one of hundreds of farmers from Bonbon and neighbouring Abricots, who learned about agroforestry through Action Against Desertification. Since 2015, the initiative has helped them to strengthen their capacities in this practice, as well as in other techniques such as land restoration and soil conservation.

Developing capacities is part of Action Against Desertification’s efforts to help communities to restore their land. There is a lot at stake in Haiti, a country where half the land area is affected by erosion, a result of deforestation and inappropriate agricultural practices. It is the reason why Action Against Desertification promotes the use of native species. They stabilize the soil and help prevent slope erosion.

Equipped with their newly acquired skills, the farmers have gone ahead with restoration work. So far, they restored almost 7 000 hectares of degraded land in Bonbon and Abricots, while 1 250 more are planted to start their restoration. In all, 600 000 seedlings of native forest and fruit species have been planted.

Action Against Desertification also promotes the development of non-timber forest products. It is an integral of its land restoration approach: these products provide additional income to communities where living standards are low. This is an important incentive for communities to stay involved in the sustainable management of their land.

For now, efforts have focused on supporting beekeepers in honey production. In 2018, they produced over 9 000 litres of honey, generating a net revenue of USD 5 600.

Read new fact sheet on Action Against Desertification in Haiti.