Report 01. Tree planting in Haiti: a socio-economic appraisal
Street, Donald R.
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DescriptionThe Haiti Agroforestry Research Project was a program to encourage Haitian farmers to plant fast growing trees as a cash crop. This project was part of an overall plan by USAID to curb the devastating erosion which was washing the top soil into the sea.
The purpose of this rapid-reconnaissance study was to augment previous work on tree planting in Haiti by taking advantage of a longer history of woodlot operations and to include socio-economic data on hedgerows, border plantings, and mixed alley cropping systems of trees. Sixty-two respondents were interviewed, 20 in the Northwest, 20 in the Central Plateau, and 22 in the Vialet-Ti Goave regions. The tree planting operations, in general, provided the farmers with an added means to gain income from under utilized labor and other resources on the farm. There were few conflicts of labor use from the tree operations to other cropping systems employed by the owners. These occurred in peaks of planting and harvesting seasons. There were also few conflicts in the use of tools and animal capital between the tree enterprises and the cropping systems of respondents. The most frequently mentioned motivation of farmers to plant trees was wood for own use, followed by erosion control-conservation, and increased earnings. When asked the primary reason motivating farmers to plant trees, erosion control was most frequent and was mentioned by 23 of the 62 respondents. Wood for own use, and increased earnings followed in importance as primary reasons to plant trees. When questioned on their satisfaction with goal attainment in the tree planting operation, 60 of the 62 respondents reported that they were happy with the venture. This result was reinforced by 59 of the 62 expressing a wish to plant more trees. The most frequent reason given for not planting more trees was lack of land and lack of tree availability. A large proportion of the hedgerow planters reported increased crop production on land involving the hedgerows. With reduced crop yields from borders, mixed alley tree and crop combinations, and woodlots, farmers often volunteered that they made gains from the tree operations which outweighed their reductions in crop harvests. The farmers were retaining their tree inventories much longer than previous studies had indicated and few had harvested a substantial proportion of their trees, even after five or six years. The addition of standing inventory tree data which are in process of collection will allow a cost and returns analysis. Recommendations made to grantees and contractors are: 1. Collaborate with cooperators to collect growth data on a sampling basis suitable for cost and returns analysis. 2. Train farmers through extension means at an early date to maintain records amenable to cost and returns analysis. 3. Devise a set of data to determine kombit costs of work. 4. Collect a set of farm-level prices to be used in calculating returns of the tree enterprises. 5. Collect physiographic data by tree planting areas to facilitate economic recommendations to farmers. 6. Expand the sample size in relevant tree planting areas. 7. Expand the survey to include additional tree planting areas.
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