After years of work, W.K. Kellogg Foundation partners in Haiti establish an alliance to strengthen local food systems and food security.
The Haiti Food Systems Alliance (HFSA) includes 14 established Haitian businesses and organizations dedicated to improving farmer incomes and children's food security.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, May 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A new coalition of organizations working on the ground in Haiti has united to contribute to developing the country's agricultural sector and boost food security for marginalized families.
The Haiti Food Systems Alliance (HFSA), years in the making, was formed as a local response to the top-down approach commonly adopted by external development interventions. It will contribute to local efforts to develop a Haitian-led roadmap to agricultural viability and sustainability that puts Haitian farmers and local food system organizations in the driver's seat for the benefit of Haitian children and their communities.
The Alliance includes agricultural groups supporting food production in rural communities, including Association des Cadres pour la Protection de l'Environnement (ACAPE), Acceso Haiti, Association Zanmi Agrikol (AZA), Haiti Christian Development Fund (HCDF), KORE Foundation (KORE) and Partenariat Developpement Local (PDL).
They will be supported by service partners specializing in local capacity building, research and data service, including Association pour le Developpement de Fond-des-Blancs (ADF), Centre d'Appui et de Services aux Entreprises Locales et Internationales (Caseli), Centre Haitien du Leadership et de l'Excellence (CLE), Haiti Development Institute (HDI) and Université de Quisqueya (UniQ).
Finally, three feeding partners will complete the Alliance, including Health Equity International (HEI), Model School Network (MSN) and Zanmi Lasante (ZL).
"This is very important because today we are talking about systems - the food system that encompasses the entire agricultural industry," said Cantave Jean-Baptiste, HFSA partner and director of Partenariat pour le Developpement Locale (PDL).
"At a past meeting of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation partners, we highlighted the assets and resources of our country, and many mentioned that our biggest weakness was our isolation. Today we are coming together to bring about the impact that each of us alone cannot have."
"This Alliance has a great advantage: we already know each other, as individuals, as professionals, as institutions. Many have collaborated already, and many are currently working together. Let us put these assets in service of the Alliance to strengthen the capacity of groups, farmers' organizations and social movements working for food sovereignty in Haiti."
Over the next 18 months, the Alliance will provide short-term relief to household food and economic insecurity in some of the most neglected and vulnerable communities in Haiti, while also driving improvements in local food systems and value chains to make them more inclusive, profitable and sustainable.
This will include investment in production, marketing and feeding activities in strategic value chains (corn, cassava, beans, eggs and peanuts) to rapidly improve nutrition for children in schools, hospitals and vulnerable rural communities.
The Alliance will also focus on ongoing improvement in these strategic value chains through applied research, testing and production supported by Alliance partners to increase income for rural farming households.
The HFSA draws its legitimacy from its 14 members - organizations with decades of experience in Haiti's agricultural sector, leading research, innovation and impact to support local food security and sustainability. The Alliance is founded on the belief that Haitian farmers are the motors of agricultural sustainability and must be supported, throughout the whole value chain, for Haiti's food system to reach its full potential.
After years of international funding mainly going to foreign businesses and interventions, the HFSA will fund actions to create stronger alignment between local businesses and organizations and to increase their organizational, data and technical capacity. Despite Haiti's significant challenges, which include poor governance, increased food insecurity, climate change and increased gang violence, the HFSA will present solutions in areas where real impact is possible, all the while putting in place strong collective foundations essential to a thriving food system.
"To the international community and those looking to support Haiti, we encourage you to look beyond the negative headlines, not perpetuate them, and support local solutions and development projects that address issues in a sustainable way. We need solutions that come from and empower the Haitian people," said Sergeline Renee, HFSA partner and Director of Administration and Sales for Acceso Haiti.
The HFSA partners, working across agriculture, education and healthcare sectors, and with longstanding support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, have been highly effective in engaging communities to deploy innovative, partnership-based and community-led solutions.
To date, members of the Alliance have developed and expanded local sourcing for school feeding programs to feed more than 10,000 students, launched and expanded research and development of agricultural innovations to improve multiple value chains and developed new export products, obtained certifications, and built expertise and teams to expand market opportunities for farming families.
These organizations have also played a key role in responding to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity, and natural disasters by helping local farmers and food systems workers provide food for hospitals and community organizations.
Now, the coalition has formalized its expanded collaboration through the creation of the Haiti Food Systems Alliance.
"Over the years, it has been an honor to partner with the organizations now serving as the foundation of the Haiti Food System Alliance. I have seen firsthand the evolution of their work as collaborators, innovators and local leaders, marching hand in hand with communities at such a critical moment in Haiti's history." said Dana François, program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
"The Alliance is a result of years of partnerships founded on the commitment of these organization to a shared vision of families thriving through sustainable Haitian-led economic development and food sovereignty during evolving challenging global and local contexts. Much more work awaits the Alliance as it continues to fine-tune, calibrate, maintain alignment with communities' visions, to reach the impact it seeks to have on many fronts as a community-driven initiative working alongside Haitian farmers, families, and the agricultural sector."
Some of HFSA's primary goals include raising the incomes of 3,000 more smallholder farmers and creating 100 more rural food systems jobs, feeding over 8,000 more school kids with locally sourced snacks, and providing 3,000 more smallholder farmers with access to parcel-specific weather forecasting and best practices information via text or WhatsApp.
The Alliance will also seek to rapidly add and engage central and local government offices and other production, service, and feeding partners throughout the country in the years to come. Continued growth, expansion and partnership building with other organizations will increase the Alliance's impact and overall sustainability.
More information is available via the official HFSA website.
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SOURCE W.K. Kellogg Foundation