PMIL in Haiti
PMIL researchers in Haiti and the U.S., are working to enhance the peanut sector through continued research on production-related problems and value-chain analyses. Through partnerships with a private sector value chain company and NGOs that produce peanut-based, Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food or RUTF, PMIL is maximizing impact at the local-level.
While the use of RUTFs is greatly impacting the health of many malnourished children in Haiti and in many other countries, the peanuts used for these efforts have been primarily sourced outside the country because of production and quality issues.
PMIL is developing a comprehensive plan for the peanut sector that will help farmers improve quality and increase quantity to meet the demand, and improve the quality of peanuts for the growing formal market sector.
This comprehensive plan includes supporting a peanut breeding program. Haiti’s varied and unique growing conditions, including soil properties, pests, diseases and environment, will require long-term peanut breeding support to develop varieties that are locally adapted. PMIL supported researchers are evaluating various peanut varieties for suitability under these growing conditions, to identify populations with traits of interest, to establish baseline agronomic recommendations, and develop local capacity for rigorous research.
Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic to its east. Roughly the size of the US state of Maryland, Haiti is the third largest country in the Caribbean, behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Creole and French are the official languages.
More than 10 million people live in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Nearly 60% of the population lives on less than $2.42 a day and one-quarter live in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 a day. More than two-thirds of employable people do not have jobs.
The literacy rate is around 64% for men and 57% for women compared to 92% for other Latin American and Caribbean developing countries.
The climate is tropical, with some variation depending on altitude. The capital, Port-au-Prince, ranges from an average low of 23° C (73° F) and high of 31° C (88° F) in January to 25–35° C (77–95° F) in July.
There are two rainy seasons, April–June and October–November. Haiti endures droughts and floods, made worse by deforestation.
In general, the average Haitian diet is based on starchy staples such as rice, corn, millet, yams, and beans. Riz et Pois, the country's national dish of rice and beans, is common.
Thirty percent of the population is considered food insecure and 22% of children have moderate to severe stunting, a condition defined as height for age below the 1/5 percentile on a reference growth chart.
Peanuts are an important part of helping malnourished children in Haiti. Several years ago, a peanut-based ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) became the standard for rehabilitating starving children. This increased the survival rate from around 25% to 90%.
|Table Data Source||(FAOSTAT, 2013)|
Improving the yield Haitian farmers get from their land would help the smallholder farmers’ bottom line and provide nutritious food for malnourished children.
Local Peanut Facts
- SOIL Haiti is developing portable toilets that use peanut shells and sugarcane bagasse, the dry pulpy residue left over after sugar cane is extracted, to help with the composting process.
- Charcoal briquettes can be made out of peanut shells to provide a clean smokeless fuel source.