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Improved Practices in Plantain Production

A Haitian farmer reaps the success of improved farming techniques for his plantain fields reaching revenues nearly 10 times that of the average farmer in the Cul de Sac with the same land size.
Wilhem Emile, who lives in the Matheux corridor, does not fit the typical revenue profile of the average farmer. With half a hectare of land, he reaches revenues of approximately 5,000 USD a year, exceeding the average farmer’s yield in the Cul de Sac with the same land size.
 
Wilhem’s success is not only due to his choice of crop, the plantain, but also his understanding of best practices to increase yields. In the corridor des Matheux, plantain production dominates, covering over 10,000 hectares of land. However, two main challenges impede the regions’ farmers from utilizing the full capacity of their land: pests and poor cultivation techniques.
 
The USAID Watershed Initiative for National Natural Environmental Resources (WINNER) project had determined that with pest control and capacity building, farmers in the Matheux could increase yields by as much as 60 percent. Wilhem Emile and other farmers improved cultivation practices in their farms helping increase revenues through training on the various phases of the production cycle.
 
Farmers were shown a new method of marking the field and system of planting double rows with which 2,395 plants can be produced rather than the traditional 1,333 plants/hectare. This represents an increase of 79 percent in yields or $10,000 USD more per hectare. Furthermore, farmers were also taught simple ways to prevent pest infestation which typically accounts for more than 20 percent in production loss. Finally, the training introduced replicable and low cost techniques of post harvest management, including limiting damage to fruits and improved stocking techniques.
 
Wilhem spoke on behalf of peers when he explained, “I learned [it is] easy to replicate techniques that will help me increase my revenues, without the need to acquire more land,” also emphasizing the low level of investment needed. As the president of a small farmer association in the locality of Montrouis, Wilhem is already demonstrating these recently-acquired techniques in his plot. With farmers like Wilhem sharing their knowledge and replicating lessons learned from the training, the WINNER project expects an estimated 80 million dollar revenue increase in the plantain value chain.
 

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