Haitian college students complete newly revamped farm internship program with help of IFAS Global

JACMEL, Haiti — Every year, a group of students at the State University of Haiti’s Faculty of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine (FAMV) leave the classroom to work directly with farmers as part of an intensive diagnostic field practicum.

Launched more than 20 years ago, educators say this nearly two-week Diagnosis of Agrarian Systems program is essential to the training of the next generation of Haiti’s agricultural professionals, giving fourth-year students firsthand knowledge of agricultural practices they need to help Haiti’s smallholder farmers to become more productive.

But something was different about the most recent program, which was held Feb. 14-25 in Marigot and Cayes-Jacmel. The roughly 90 students attending may not have realized it, but they were the first cohort to participate in this internship since an interdisciplinary team of faculty and researchers spent over a year overhauling and modernizing the curriculum to better meet the needs of today’s agricultural sector.

To improve the compulsory course, FAMV partnered with researchers at Feed the Future Haiti Appui à la Recherche et au Développement Agricole (AREA), a project funded by the U.S. Agency for Development and managed by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. AREA and FAMV worked behind-the-scenes to improve the course: AREA surveyed students and faculty to assess the program, analyzed course content, held a weekend retreat with FAMV faculty members to decide on ways to modernize its content, and lent the expertise of teachers and researchers.

“Helping FAMV to rework its program fits well with AREA’s mission, which is to assist Haitian agricultural researchers, professionals and institutions to modernize the country’s agricultural sector,” said Dr. Rose Koenig, interim director of international programs at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the principal investigator on the AREA project. AREA is managed by UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, which provided technical and financial support for the revamped course, plus the previous one held last fall in Ennery and Savane Carrée.

Haitian college students at FAMV diagnostic internship During the latest two-week field practicum, students were divided into groups to analyze two farming regions, Marigot and Cayes-Jacmel, where they interviewed farmers to learn how they grow, manage, process and sell agricultural products. They collected and analyzed data, and collaborated to develop a case study of these important agricultural regions. Dr. Wesly Jeune, the lead researcher on the AREA project’s soil fertility program, taught the students about soil science and demonstrated how to use GPS devices and digital tools to conduct a landscape analysis of these regions. Dr. Absalon Pierre, the AREA project’s human and institutional development specialist, taught a session on research ethics. Taisha Venort, AREA’s gender specialist, provided lessons on data collection and management techniques.

On the final day of the program, the students gathered in Jacmel to make presentations to faculty and local farmers about what they learned and offered some recommendations for improving farming practices.

“By identifying the problems faced by farmers and by using modern techniques, students are better able to meet the needs of Haiti’s farming sector,” said Lemâne Delva, Ph.D., AREA’s research director and a professor at FAMV.

FAMV Dean Jocelyn Louissant honors FAMV professor Beatrice Antoine Felix.
FAMV Dean Jocelyn Louissant honors FAMV professor Beatrice Antoine Felix.

Before wrapping up the event, FAMV Dean Jocelyn Louissant honored professors Beatrice Antoine Felix and Frantz Suprem for their lengthy service to the university and for launching the course more than 20 years ago.

“I am very moved and I am happy to receive this distinction after a long career working at FAMV,” Felix said.

Recognizing the importance of continuing to incorporate new knowledge and innovations, FAMV is still working closely with AREA on the program. AREA researchers surveyed professors and students to gauge the effectiveness of the new content and learning activities. AREA will share the results with FAMV in an effort to continue to make the program even better.

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About the AREA project: In May 2015, the U.S. Agency for International Development awarded a five-year contract to a consortium of three U.S. land grant institutions led by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences to support its Feed the Future initiative in Haiti. The consortium’s mission is to help Haiti develop and strengthen its system for agricultural innovation, and to increase production, household income and food security. The project is funded by USAID as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global food and security initiative. For more information, visit http://global.ifas.ufl.edu/area-project.

About Feed the Future: Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. With a focus on smallholder farmers, particularly women, Feed the Future supports partner countries in developing their agriculture sectors to spur economic growth and trade that increase incomes and reduce hunger, poverty and undernutrition. For more information, visit www.feedthefuture.org.

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Posted: March 5, 2018


Category: Agriculture
Tags: Appui à La Recherche Et Au Développement Agricole (AREA), Area-project, FAMV, Haiti


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October 23, 2019

Would be happy to share our HACCP plan developed in 2008. Today we have Safe Quality Foods certification for exports and it is much more comprehensive. The FSMA demands such an approach to allow importers to export to them. We are developing a slowly slowly approach to growth and try to improve annually with small manageable sustainable steps. Every tropical cyclone sets us back but we again just commence the thousand mile journey.

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October 23, 2019

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October 20, 2019

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October 19, 2019

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Charles Boisseau

August 2, 2019

Hi William, I'm not sure we can help with your project. We are a small team working on targeted research and this goes outside what we have resources to do. I hope you understand and best of luck with your project! Charles Boisseau, communications manager

William A. (Dell) Branson
July 30, 2019

Hello, I am on a Agricultural Mission Team with The Torch Worship Center. We have a 35 acre mission in Deyemon Haiti. We need assistance with planting bananas and coffee with our next mission trip scheduled for August 30 - September 7. We are looking for plants and technical guidance in planting approximately 50 plants of coffee and bananas. Please help us !

Caroline Staub
June 13, 2019

Thank you, I am glad it was useful. We will be speaking to farmers soon about what they've learned so stay tuned.

CASIMIR Sandra
June 8, 2019

I find that's a good idea. Haiti could face to the weak production if each other accepts to fight like this.

Muchinson
May 12, 2019

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Gelin
November 17, 2018

That's interesting!

Charles Boisseau

August 27, 2018

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August 27, 2018

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July 3, 2018

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July 1, 2018

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Bredy Charlot
June 17, 2018

Thanks. I'm Bredy Charlot an agronomist who works for the ministry of agriculture in Haïti. Climate changed need specific attention in the field if agriculture . We need substancial assistance in agriculture research versus climate changes. There are so many changes in the agriculture calendar. The impact is very importante and needs specific trainings for all in this field.

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May 11, 2018

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Renita Hanna
April 24, 2018

My name is Renita Am very interested in learning more about this program and production in Haiti I would very like to get involved and learn hands and help to make Haiti stable again my heart goes out to this country that is so rich in culture and history.

Lise Bouffard
March 15, 2018

Very interesting! Bravo Haiti! et bravo Frednaud Charlotin et compagnie pour votre beau travail. D'une adepte des produits des fruits de l'arbre à pain en Jamaïque - qui sont utilisés dans le cadre d'un programme de petits déjeuners pour les enfants dans un milieu rural. Lise B.

Grant
March 14, 2018

Would be happy to share our HACCP plan developed in 2008. Today we have Safe Quality Foods certification for exports and it is much more comprehensive. The FSMA demands such an approach to allow importers to export to them. We are developing a slowly slowly approach to growth and try to improve annually with small manageable sustainable steps. Every tropical cyclone sets us back but we again just commence the thousand mile journey.

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March 9, 2018

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Claudia
December 26, 2017

Congrats Redgino, i'm so proud of you. Merry Christmas

Rudlyne
December 15, 2017

Keep going on Redjino. Your family and your country are pround of you and encourage your efforts.

France
December 15, 2017

So proud of you Djino! Proud to be Haitian! ❤️

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December 10, 2017

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