Student Spotlight: Rédjino Mompremier
Rédjino Mompremier knows the challenges Haiti faces to feed its population.
The Haiti native has seen firsthand what food insecurity looks like, with roughly half of the country’s population classified as undernourished. This is aggravated by a longstanding drought and last year’s devastating hurricane, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
Haiti’s struggle to achieve economic growth and stability, while many of its citizens still lack basic necessities, is the fundamental challenge that brought Mompremier to the University of Florida to research and work in the field of agronomy.
He wants to make a difference.
Mompremier is studying Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida as part of a two-year graduate program funded by the USAID’s Feed the Future, a global hunger and food security initiative. He also is among 19 Haitian students participating in a UF-managed project called Appui à la Recherche et au Développement Agricole (AREA), or Support to Agriculture Research Development (SARD), which seeks to build the capacity of Haiti’s agricultural sector.
The importance of water management
Mompremier’s work focuses on water management issues, including hydrology and irrigation modeling. Water management expertise is in high demand in Haiti, where farm productivity has declined in the past 30 years because of increased environmental degradation, natural disasters and reliance on rainfall for crops, according to USAID.
“Where there is agriculture there is a need for water management,” Mompremier says. “If we do not bring solutions to this issue Haiti will always have this problem.”
Mompremier is soaking up knowledge about how to use models to forecast water-management issues, which can help avert agricultural crises caused by flooding and drought.
“When I finish my program, I want to look at the problem in a different way,” he says. “That is why I’m here. I want to see how I can make models work and master the techniques. Then I will bring them home.”
Mompremier says he also is motivated by his wife, Rudlyne, and his six-month-old daughter, Ramaelle. He is spending a significant amount of time away from his family while he is studying at UF, but he believes his work will be worth the sacrifice.
“My wife and my baby, they’re my motivation to do something good,” he says. “This program is more than just these two years. It is about what this degree can bring not only personally for me, but for my family and for my country.”
— Photos by Eliana French