Report 50. Training manual for improving cocoa production in Haiti
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DescriptionThe Haiti Productive Land Use Systems (PLUS) Research Project continued and expanded the work of the Haiti Agroforestry project. It was intended to encourage Haitian farmers to plant trees as part of an overall plan by USAID to curb the devastating erosion which was washing the top soil into the sea. This project also investigated the effects on other crops as a result of tree planting.
In early 1999, cacao specialist B. K. Matlick visited Haiti and suggested that farmers could be educated in simple cultural practices that would increase the yield of their trees by 20-30%. At the request of USAID, SECID developed a cacao yield improvement program based on B. K. Matlick's ideas. As part of the program, SECID engaged cacao production expert Chris Stevenson as consultant to provide technical assistance to partner organization (PADF and CARE) extension agronomists and local farmer groups in efficient cacao production techniques. Between March 1999 and November 2000, Mr. Stevenson made five working visits to Haiti. He focused on teaching correct pruning of cacao trees, grafting, and shade adjustment (thinning out the branches of overgrown shade trees to reduce shading from over 50% total shade to the desired range of 35-50%). Details on Chris Stevenson's activities and the cacao yield improvement program can be found in SECID/PLUS semi-annual reports and in SECID/Auburn PLUS Report No. 48. A Creole-language cacao production booklet entitled "Annou Plante Kakawo Byen" was also produced by SECID in the context of this program. The present cacao manual gathers together all of the technical sheets that Mr. Stevenson included in his trip reports. It is hoped that the manual will serve as a valuable resource for project personnel and others interested in promoting cacao production in Haiti.