EARTHQUAKE AFTERMATH

Jim Carrey’s Better U Foundation’s first engagement with Haiti was to provide financial aid used to purchase urgent medical supplies in the early hours after the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010. Since that time, Better U has continued to support Haiti in various capacities. Introducing the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) to Haitian farmers has been our most important objective.

Haitian farmers are the lowest yield producers in the Western Hemisphere. Jim Carrey made a commitment through his Better U Foundation believing the introduction of SRI could unlock the agricultural potential throughout Haiti just as it had done in Madagascar and 53 other countries throughout the world.

Two initiatives to introduce SRI to Haiti were undertaken in parallel. The first was a collaborative effort between Cornell University, Jim Carrey’s Better U Foundation, and a number of Non-Government Organizations, NGO’s, working throughout the country. The second initiative was led by the USAID-funded project Watershed Initiative for the National Natural Environmental Resources, (WINNER). By March 2011, the results from nine sites across the country and two cultivation seasons showed that the SRI method was more productive and profitable than traditional methods

sri expansion

Based on these promising results, Better U, under the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture, organized a two-day National Colloquium on SRI in March of 2011. One hundred twenty participants including numerous NGO’s, bilateral and multilateral programs, government researchers and extension services, the private sector, and a large number of private growers exchanged their experiences and started to develop a roadmap for SRI expansion in Haiti.

In order to develop a broader extension effort that addresses existing challenges throughout the entire cultivation cycle, the following issues in Haitian agriculture need to be addressed:

  • No access to credit
  • Poor soil fertility
  • Poor post-harvest processes
  • No market linkages

grants for if foundation

In 2013, the Better U Foundation provided two grants to the iF Foundation for SRI training and to purchase a rice mill for research on improving drying and milling processes.

In a desire to develop a comprehensive agricultural program for Haiti the Better U Foundation needed to identify a successful, organization already working at the grassroots level in the country with extensive ties to the local community. The iF Foundation, based 15 miles south of Haiti’s second-largest city, Cap Haitien, was chosen as a partner of the Better U due to their well-developed infrastructure, technical capacity and research center. The iF Foundation is the perfect implementing partner to implement the systems approach to agriculture necessary for promoting adoption of SRI.

National Colloquium on SRI

Based on these promising results, Better U, under the patronage of the Ministry of Agriculture, organized a two-day National Colloquium on SRI in March of 2011. One hundred twenty participants including numerous NGO’s, bilateral and multilateral programs, government researchers and extension services, the private sector, and a large number of private growers exchanged their experiences and started to develop a roadmap for SRI expansion in Haiti.