Spotlight: Teamwork

Labasti Farmer Team collaborates to ensure a bountiful harvest

Over the past year, we have been working with 230 farmers to help re-establish agriculture in the greater Sassier area. Our team, led by Agronomist Wisly Jasmin, has provided seeds, plants, tools, training and ongoing support. Our Agriculture Project organized the farmers into teams by geographic area, encouraging collaboration and teamwork.

The Labasti group of ten farmers has been busy working together in order to ensure a bountiful harvest. Farmers transplanted yams, breadfruit, and vegetables grown in our local greenhouse to their farmland.

Teamwork

Agronomist Wisley Jasmin is delighted with the progress and sees collaboration as the key to ongoing success. “Teamwork,” he stated, “will ensure not only sufficient food supply for families, but also the sustainability of the project for years to come.” Building on the Agriculture Project’s mission to address both short term food shortages and long term economic development, the Labasti Farmer Group is a model for the future of local sustainable agriculture.

The ten farmers harvest  crops for sale at local markets and funds are set aside in order to invest in the next planting. Over time, funds will be allocated to expand farm plots and increase harvests. Each of the farmers has a personal goal of saving US $80 by the end of the year. Working together, each of the ten farmers is able plant, maintain, and harvest their crops with maximum efficiency, especially when confronted with adverse weather. 

Over the past 10 days, several farmer groups have been busy planting 5 acres of peanuts, which are intercropped with 160+ breadfruit trees. We have already contracted to sell the peanut harvest (expected to be 5,000 to 6,000 pounds) at a very good price. All the revenue will be used to help the Agriculture Project become self-sustaining over time.  Fortunately, good rains have come over the past two days–a great help for the newly planted peanuts.

The Moringa and Breadfruit initiatives are showing much promise. The first moringa harvest is arrived at the temporary agricultural processing center. The facility will create value-added products, reducing waste and increasing farmers’ income. Moringa seeds produce high quality oil used in high end cosmetics, while the leaves make medicinal teas and nutritional supplements.  Farmers in the area are growing moringa, and will sell leaves and seeds to the processing center.

Over the coming months, our team will be working to expand the Labasti group model to other local groups within our Agriculture Project. We are also working with the farmers to create a farmers cooperative, which will provide significant benefits to them in the coming years.

What began out of the terrible disaster of Hurricane Matthew just 18 months ago has blossomed into a rapidly growing economic development engine in the greater Sassier area.  The farmers are not only rebuilding, but creating new and better business opportunities for themselves and their communities.  What many thought was the end of their livelihoods have found a new and better life awaits them – by working collaboratively, a step at a time.  

None of this would be possible without your ongoing generosity.  Our farmers are very grateful to you, as are we.