GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT AS A SMALLHOLDER BUSINESS VENTURE
smallholder farmers alliance
Photo credit: A.F. CORTES / Cover photo credit: A.F. CORTES
Unleashing the power of smallholder farmers to change the world... one small business at a time.
This is the story of a new concept that began with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance in rural Haiti and is now expanding internationally through the efforts of Impact Farming. The animating principle behind both groups is that small-scale family farmers, who make up a third of the global population, can use a self-financing business model to help feed citizens and reforest the world while simultaneously addressing community development, climate change and women’s empowerment.
Growing More Food and More Trees Haiti-based organization with a domestic focus, a new organization called Impact Farming has been created to carry this message beyond Haiti’s borders.
With most indicators suggesting that we have already reached the worldwide limit of arable land, and with current population projections predicting an additional two billion people by 2050, experts feel we are rapidly approaching an impending food crisis where production simply cannot meet demand.
The world’s largest under-performing agricultural asset is the 2.5 billion people who live and work on 500 million smallholder family farms. Each with less than five acres (roughly two hectares), these farmers constitute one third of the entire global population and currently produce 70% of our food on 60% of the earth’s arable land. But as in Haiti, most are functioning at well under half their capacity and together represent the majority of the poorest and hungriest people in the world.
One option is to accelerate the cutting of forests to clear land for more large-scale industrialized farming. But given that it takes roughly one acre of cleared forest to feed one more person, the effect of clearing two billion acres of forest on climate change would be devastating. There is at least one other option in the form of an innovative experiment that has proven to significantly increase food production while at the same time increasing tree cover rather than reducing it. The story begins in one of the most unlikely places—rural Haiti—with an organization we founded called the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA).
Impact Farming was created to work with smallholder farmers throughout the developing world to advance business solutions that integrate sustainable food production with increased tree cover. While smallholder farmers are emerging globally as the new food and forestry frontier, the Haiti experience has shown that they are also uniquely positioned to be leaders in addressing other important issues. Deploying organic principles in the process of growing more food and more trees helps restore the environment and reduce climate change. If women farmers are supported along the way, this has been shown to further increase overall yields at the same time as improving life for women and girls. Increased household income is a major contributing factor to higher rates of school attendance. And an overall improvement in rural economies attracts young people to stay and not migrate in such numbers to urban areas that are ill equipped to provide enough job opportunities.
The two of us set out to plant trees in a country with one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world. Haiti, once covered in dense tropical forests, now has less than two percent tree cover. When we asked the Timberland company to sponsor a program that paid farmers to plant trees, the answer was “yes… but on the condition that you can show how it will be sustainable after our funding stops.” That question forced us to come up with a business case for planting trees. The solution was to combine reforestation with one of Haiti’s other major issues, namely the very low yields of smallholder farmers. We made planting trees a way to earn better seeds, tools and training so that crop yields went up by an average of 40%, farm input costs went down and household incomes increased an average of 50%. The result is a market-based approach to produce more food and by growing more trees. In addition to the resulting agroforestry cooperatives, we have added microfinance support for women farmers, established a farmer field school, created farm businesses and begun exporting agricultural products.
With a bit of help, smallholder farmers can use an entrepreneurial model to transform families, communities and local economies… and end up changing the world.
Five million trees and 3,200 farmer-members later—with the support of Timberland and the Clinton Foundation—the model is ready for expansion in Haiti and abroad. Given that the SFA is a pms 130 2
President and Co-Founder Smallholder Farmers Alliance
Executive Director and Co-Founder Smallholder Farmers Alliance
President and Founder Impact Farming
Ambassador Impact Farming
pms 377 3
Farmer Field School: a certificate program for the SFA farmer-members that trains them to the level of an agricultural extension agent.
Smallholder Farmers Alliance The Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) applies business solutions to help feed and reforest a renewed Haiti by establishing market-based farmer cooperatives, building agricultural export markets, creating rural farm businesses and contributing to community development.
w w w. H a i t i F a r m e r s . o r g Farmer Cooperatives: creating farmer-managed businesses with a triple bottom line: planting trees, increasing food production and improving farm livelihoods.
business training and loans to women farmers to assist them with creating and managing secondary business ventures such as the food stall shown here.
a business providing agricultural supplies to farmers and wholesale food to micro-entrepreneurs, along with a marketing operation for farmer produce.
adult literacy and business training for the SFA farmer-members being led by the microfinance institution Fonkoze.
a consortium of smallholder farmer cooperatives growing and processing moringa leaves into powder and extracting oil from the seeds—both for export.
Photo credit: A.F. CORTES
a network of model school gardens to encourage the growing of vegetables for hot meal programs and having students learn about the environment.
See page 13 for more details.
Support for Women Farmers Lime Oil Export:
reintroducing lime trees in Haiti that will supply a plant being built there to process and export lime oil extract. See page 15 for more details.
Simply put, if you don’t emphasize overall support to smallholders in favor of women farmers you are not going to get full value for your investment. That is not to suggest that support should be provided to women only, because that causes its own dysfunction. But supporting women to achieve an equal status with male farmers— and with equal access to resources—has been shown to increase farm yields by 20 to 30 percent, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The SFA model starts by making women and men separate and equal members, including when they farm together as husband and wife, which is something rarely done in Haiti. A woman farmer is a member of the SFA’s national board of directors. Women farmers are the exclusive recipients of the SFA microfinance program, which includes basic business training. And women farmers have the exclusive responsibility for processing moringa as part of the new Haitian moringa value chain. What began as externally applied rules has begun to change cultural norms regarding the status of women, one community at a time.
Trees as Bio-Currency
Photo credit: A.F. CORTES
Planting trees in Haiti is becoming a ‘natural bitcoin’ that is used to finance agricultural improvements. In the SFA model, farmers grow trees in order to earn better crop seeds, tools and training. These agricultural inputs lead to significantly higher crop yields and household income. But it all starts with trees.
SFA Stats: 3,200
Number of farmer members
Percentage of farmer members who are women.
Number of tree nurseries.
Number of trees planted by the SFA between 2010 and 2015.
Acres under cultivation by farmer members (2,550 hectares).
Number of women farmer members currently receiving micro-credit loans.
Estimated average increase in crop yields by farmer members.
Estimated average increase in household income by farmer members
Estimated number of additional children of farmer-members in school.
Estimated total number of farmers and their family members positively impacted by the SFA’s work.
Photo credit: Sebastian Petion
The Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA) is a Haitian non-profit foundation operating under the laws of Haiti, identified by NIF#: 000-049-555-8 and currently in the process of applying for the final stage of registration with the Government of Haiti.
Board of Directors Hugh Locke President and Co-founder President and Founder, Impact Farming
Timote Georges Executive Director and Co-founder
Raymond Alcide Joseph Journalist; former Haitian Ambassador to the USA
Mark Newton Head of Regulatory and Environmental Affairs, Samsung Electronics America
Rob Padberg Director General, Bureau de Nutrition et Developpment (BND)
Eliette Pierre Farmer and member of Smallholder Farmers Alliance in Gonaïves
Michèle Pierre-Louis Former Prime Minister of Haiti; President, Fokal
Jean Ernst Saint Fleur Officer, UNICEF; formerly with Ministry of Agriculture
Jean-Frédéric Salès Principle, Cabinet Salès
Jane Wynne Founder, Wynne Farm Ecological Reserve
Advisors Mark Bamford
John R. Drexel IV Pascale Dejean Claudine Francois
Kombit: The Cooperative Scheduled for release in October 2015, this documentary chronicles the journey of Timberland and the Smallholder Farmers Alliance to develop a sustainable agroforestry business model in Haiti.
Lionel Delatour 12
Jean-Robert Ronald Painson
w w w. k o m b i t f i l m . c o m
Impact Farming is a U.S.-based non-profit organization that works with smallholder farmers internationally to advance small-scale business solutions that integrate sustainable food production with increased tree cover and self-financed community development. Impact Farming also supports the work of the Haiti-based Smallholder Farmers Alliance.
for scalable agricultural innovations that connect smallholder farmers with better seeds, tools and training, along with access to markets, credit and other services.
that changes thinking about smallholder farmers from a problem to be fixed to an essential primary economic and social unit of civilization.
to ensure the voice of smallholder farmers is part of any process in which the outcome will impact their future.
Moringa Export: Impact Farming is supporting the Haiti-based
w w w. I m p a c t F a r m i n g . o r g
Boosting Haiti’s Agricultural Exports 14
Smallholder Farmers Alliance to create and implement a new moringa value chain that will secure a portion of the rapidly growing international market for moringa leaf powder on behalf of that country’s smallholder farmers. Kuli Kuli, the U.S.-based moringa company, is creating a new food product made with Haitian moringa that will go on sale at Whole Foods Market stores in January, 2016. A new business model will fully integrate smallholder farmers from ‘field to shelf’ as growers, processors and shareholders collaborate in a new commercial export company that features moringa processing operations run by women farmers. 15
Photo credit: Sebastian Petion
Impact Farming is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization operating under the laws of the United States.
Board of Directors Hugh Locke President and Founder President and Co-Founder, Smallholder Farmers Alliance
John (Nick) R. Drexel IV Treasurer Chairman, Saga 3, LLC
Gregory Grene Co-Founder, Andrew Grene Foundation
Benjamin Krause Chief of Staff for Sean Penn; PhD candidate, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley
Mary McLaughlin Founder, Trees That Feed Foundation
Margaret Morey-Reuner Director, Strategic Partnerships & Business Development, Timberland
Ambassador Timote Georges Executive Director and Co-Founder, Smallholder Farmers Alliance
Advisor Mark Bamford
Smallholder Metrics Model: Impact Farming is working with several universities and non-profits to develop a new standardized methodology for measuring smallholder farm input, output and impact—including environmental, social and economic impact, as well as the role of women.
LIME OIL EXPORT
Boosting Haiti’s Agricultural Exports
Lime Oil Export: Impact Farming is supporting the Smallholder Farmers Alliance to re-introduce lime trees (being planted above) in Haiti, once a major exporter of the lime oil extract valued by both the fragrance and beverage industries. The SFA is starting with a pilot program involving 500 smallholder farmers growing and transplanting 20,000 key lime trees in three categories: small-plot sites with 15 trees each, micro-orchards of around 350 trees each and one mid-size cooperative-managed orchard with 3,500 trees on a fivehectare site. The goal is to replicate and greatly expand this program over the next few years in order to supply a planned extraction plant that will once again export lime oil, but this time based on a smallholder farmer model.
COTTON EXPORT Reintroducing Cotton Export: Cotton was once a valuable
Boosting Haiti’s Agricultural Exports 18
agricultural export from Haiti. Impact Farming—with the support of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA), Timberland and the Clinton Foundation— is undertaking a feasibility study to explore the possibility of reintroducing cotton as an export crop. The focus will be on smallholder cultivation that is intercropped and/or in rotation with basic food crops. Among the issues to be considered will be the possibility of organic certification and/or Better Cotton Initiative compliance. The study will also incorporate the SFA agroforestry model that links tree planting with improved agriculture. The painting above is “Picking Cotton” by Michaelle Obin (Indigo Arts Gallery, Cap Haitien).
Sponsors, Partners and Collaborators
Photo credit: A.F. CORTES
The following organizations, institutions and companies have been involved in sponsoring, partnering or collaborating with the Smallholder Farmers Alliance and/or Impact Farming.
A Hundred Years Canadian Embassy in Haiti Clinton Foundation Clinton Global Initiative CNN International Fairtrasa Firmenich Charitable Foundation Fondation Seguin Fonkoze Food and Agriculture Organization – Haiti Found Object Heifer International Inter-American Development Bank Kreyòl Essence Kuli Kuli Lidè Ministry of Agriculture – Haiti Ministry of Environment – Haiti Ministry of Fun Nomad Two Worlds Partners in Agriculture POS Bio-Sciences Prodem S.A. Sakala The B Team Trees That Feed Foundation Whole Foods Market World Bank World Central Kitchen Wynne Farm Ecological Reserve Founding corporate sponsor:
B E R 2 01
DRAFT - final edits and adjustments
They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but did you know a whole community can?
September 2015 Smallholder Farmers Alliance
w w w. H a i t i F a r m e r s . o r g Smallholder Farmers Alliance 26, Route Nationale #1 Gonaïves, Haiti
w w w. I m p a c t F a r m i n g . o r g Impact Farming 1872 Pleasantville Road, Suite 182 Briarcliff anor, N 10510, SA