A few weeks ago, I was invited to a meeting with a group of smallholder farmers from Perches, in the Nord-Est Department. After a long ride between rugged mountains and 30 minute walk, we arrived to the site. The farmers were assembled and were proudly exhibiting some of the fruits and vegetables the grow.
Time after time, at this meeting and others, women and men have shared their concerns about the difficulties to maintain their crops. One of the farmers explains:
“Our plants are dying of thirst. We always have water because we have rain and we can store the water in tanks. The problems is that we can’t take this water to the crops. We can’t use a pomp because we have no electricity. We try to do it ourselves with buckets but is exhausting and is never enough.”
Testimonies such as this describe one of the many pressing issues that these communities face on a daily basis as well as their frustration of knowing how to solve it but not having access to the resources they need to improve their farming systems.
In an attempt to get to a better understanding of the situation and recognizing that this is part of a bigger problem, SKY developed a small survey as part of a community diagnosis. The survey showed that beyond the evident lack of opportunities, these people are determined to make their voices heard and to work hard on creating sustainable changes.
To further discuss the results of the survey with the smallholder farmers, and to dig a little dipper in some of the main topics, we invited them to a meeting at SKY’s office, in Ouanaminthe. The meeting was a great identify common problems and look for solutions that can be replicated in the different communities.
All the information we collected from the diagnosis with the farmers is going to be considered for our next agriculture project, that we hope is going to reflect the messages these people have shared with us.
We strongly believe that the only way to assure them that their demands are been heard is by starting to work on them side by side.
These people are strong, determined, and they are not alone, we are confident that in a joint effort, this project is going to improve the farmer’s access to technologies that will make their work easier and will helped them have a better control of its productive resources.