Sunday, January 15, 2012

HAITI: Update on SRI Two Years after the Earthquake

Two years after the devastating earthquake hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, a number of depressing news reports have come out questioning where all the aid money went and what progress has already been made. Following the introduction of SRI soon after the earthquake by USAID's WINNER Project and the BUF/SRI-Rice initiative, however, SRI methods have continued to show steady progress in Haiti. WINNER's continued success is highlighted in an article on the U.S. State Department website, posted two years to the day after the event, that notes "Yields for rice under the System of Rice Intensification, where less water, fewer seeds and less fertilizer are used, were 64 percent higher."

In an NPR radio interview about Haiti with Neal Conan, Rajiv Shah, USAID's Administrator, cites SRI as an example of successful agricultural innovations in recovery efforts: "In rice, they're using a system called the system of rice intensification, which allows them to use less water, less fertilizer, more safe inputs. And they're seeing a big increase, doubling or tripling of yields, and a 75 percent increase in farm incomes because of that program, which has now reached almost 10,000 farm households, and we believe will reach 125,000 over time." Another article in the Miami Herald by Shah adds: "When we piloted a program designed to intensify rice yields in the areas surrounding Port-au-Prince, the results were staggering: Haitian farmers saw their yields increase by almost 190 percent, while using fewer seeds and less water and fertilizer. The farmers cut 10 days off their normal harvest and increased their profit per acre. Today that program is being expanded to reach farmers throughout the country. Instead of importing rice from other countries, Haitians will soon be able to purchase and consume more of what they grow"
 The Better U Foundation is also planning to expand their support for SRI in Haiti in 2012. Another article posted on the earthquake anniversary notes that Oxfam is now working with 135 farmers on adapting SRI methods on their farms in Haiti as well. From our experiences and the reports of others over the past two years, it seems that SRI methods are well-suited to helping Haitians increase their rice production.
For more information on SRI in Haiti (reports, articles, videos, photos), see the SRI-Rice Haiti page.

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