Haitian college students study farming practices in improved course supported by AREA

En française
Students give a presentation during the FAMV diagnostic field practicum held in Laborde. Photo credit: FAMV
Students give a presentation during the FAMV diagnostic field practicum held in Laborde, Haiti. Photo credit: FAMV

LES CAYES, Haiti — Every year, high-level students at the State University of Haiti’s Faculty of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine (FAMV) leave the classroom to interact directly with farmers as part of an intensive diagnostic field practicum.

The most recent program, which wrapped up with a closing ceremony on March 14, marks the third year of a collaboration between FAMV and Feed the Future Haiti Appui à la Recherche et au Développement Agricole (AREA). An interdisciplinary team from FAMV and AREA partnered to modernize the content of the course, which was launched more than 20 years ago to place the students in professional situations to apply what they learned after four years.

Collaborating with AREA, FAMV changed the structure of the nearly two-week capstone course, incorporated new knowledge and innovations, and AREA researchers made presentations and assisted the faculty in guiding students to master new material. Funded by the U.S. Agency for Development, AREA is managed by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences to build the capacity of students, faculty and professionals to improve Haiti’s agricultural sector.

Students work together on a group project to analyze crop production in the region. Photo credit: FAMV
Students work together on a group project to analyze crop production in the region. Photo credit: FAMV

Eighty-six students

During this year’s practicum, 86 students formed groups and visited fields in the communes of Camp-Perrin and Les Cayes to make observations and interview smallholder farmers about their systems for growing crops, the most important of which are maize, common beans, sorghum, peanuts, cassava and vegetables. They also analyzed farming practices for growing non-food crops such as vetiver grass, the root of which is used to extract essential oils for the perfume industry. Finally, after working late nights to collaborate on their reports, students made presentations on assorted topics: the landscape, history of farming systems in the area, crop and animal production and — finally — an economic analysis.

“The presentations were good and I was impressed by the amount of information they were able to gather in such a short period of time,” said Ludger Jean-Simon, who taught students about farming systems in South Haiti. Jean-Simon is the leader of AREA’s maize research team and a faculty member at the American University of the Caribbean in Les Cayes.

For the first time this year, the course included information on how farmers can better manage climate-related risks. Caroline Staub, Ph.D., co-leader of AREA’s Climate Smart Solutions program, provided a video lecture and introduced students to a new climatology tool developed by the University of Florida. In collaboration with University of Florida graduate student and Haitian native Josue St Fort, they trained students to use climate information to calculate when rust is most likely to develop in dry beans, which each year causes significant losses to crops in Haiti.

Other AREA researchers providing lessons included Dr. Wesly Jeune, the lead researcher on the AREA project’s soil fertility program, who provided an overview of the region’s landscape, and Dr. Absalon Pierre, the AREA project’s human and institutional development specialist, who provided a lesson about ethics in research.

FAMV Dean Jocelyn Louissaint said the college’s partnership with AREA has helped its faculty to continue to learn about and incorporate innovations in teaching. “AREA’s team has shared new technical knowledge with our students and faculty, which has improved this important course,” he said.

AREA provided technical and financial support for this and two prior courses held in other Haiti farming regions: in Jacmel in 2018, and Ennery and Savane Carrée in 2017. AREA team members will continue to collaborate with FAMV to analyze surveys of professors and students to gauge the effectiveness of the new content and learning activities with the goal of making the program even better.

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

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Posted: March 25, 2019


Category: Agriculture, Professional Development, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Research, UF/IFAS Teaching
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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October 16, 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.

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May 12, 2019

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November 17, 2018

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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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