At start of hurricane season, UF researchers assist Haiti’s agricultural sector address climate-related risks

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, June 8, 2018 — As Haiti entered the Atlantic hurricane season last week, University of Florida scientists supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development are stepping up their efforts to help the Caribbean country’s vital agricultural sector prepare for the threat posed by increasingly variable weather and climate patterns.

USAID’s Feed the Future Haiti project known as AREA — a French acronym for Appui à la Recherche et au Développement Agricole (or Support to Agricultural Research and Development) — is rolling out a series of new activities this summer aimed at improving Haiti’s capacity to collect and analyze weather and climate data and to train Haitian professionals to use technology in ways that will help farmers to better manage risks associated with climate variability.

Last week, the University of Florida-managed AREA project trained 17 meteorologists, technicians and other experts to analyze, interpret and communicate about weather and climate data in ways that can most benefit agronomists and farmers. The attendees were from Haiti’s National Meteorological and Hydrological Service (UHM), the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), Haitian universities and other institutions. The two-day workshop focused on R-Instat, an open-source statistical software used to analyze and present weather and climate data. By studying historical data on rainfall, temperature, winds and related information, experts can capture important weather and climate trends and present an interpretation to nonspecialists using powerful visual tools such as graphs and charts.

“The ultimate goal is to bring relevant information to farmers,” said Caroline Staub, Ph.D., a faculty member of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and the leader of AREA’s Climate Smart Solutions program.

Roger Stern leads a workshop on using R-instat
Roger Stern trains Haitian meteorologists and other experts on the use of a software tool that can help them to analyze data and to better communicate with farmers about how to reduce climate-related risks on their farms.

Staub led the workshop with Roger Stern, an emeritus professor of applied statistics at the University of Reading, which is known for its meteorological research on weather and climate. A second workshop, an in-depth training on the R programming language for agricultural research and particularly plant pathology, will be led by AREA team members Drs. Karen Garrett and Joubert Fayette on June 11 and 12.

Later this summer, AREA will provide second-generation weather stations and train agricultural experts, engineers and meteorologists to assemble, install, program and connect the equipment to the internet. William Eisenstadt, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Florida and an AREA research team member, will lead the training as part of AREA’s ongoing work to improve Haiti’s sparse network of meteorological stations. “This will give researchers, extension agents and farmers more information and allow them to better analyze weather patterns and manage crops in an era of rapid climate change,” Eisenstadt said.

Haiti is particularly vulnerable to varying climate conditions, in part because it is an island country that suffers from widespread food insecurity and yet is heavily dependent on rainfed agriculture. As weather patterns change, Haiti’s food production is threatened by a variety of factors, including more extreme and unpredictable wet and dry periods and the impacts of major storms like Hurricane Matthew, which caused widespread destruction to infrastructure and crops in southern Haiti in 2016.

Media contact: Caroline Staub, Ph.D., University of Florida, Climate Smart Solutions leader for AREA, 352-273-3460,

About AREA: In 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 to reduce the country’s chronic food insecurity. The project — known in French as Appui à la Recherche et au Développement Agricole (AREA) and in English as Support to Agricultural Research and Development — assists Haitian agricultural researchers, professionals and institutions to modernize the country’s agricultural sector.

Posted: June 8, 2018

Category: Agriculture, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Research
Tags: Appui à La Recherche Et Au Développement Agricole (AREA), AREA, Area-project, Bill Eisenstadt, Caroline Staub, Climate Change, Climate Smart Solutions, Haiti, Support For Agricultural Research And Development


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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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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.

June 8, 2019

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November 17, 2018

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August 27, 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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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.

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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December 15, 2017

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