Agriculture and Food
We do our best to address all the problems related to agriculture and food. You will have the opportunity to discover some of the best Haitian dishes as well
Agri-Supply Company, familiarly known as Frager, located in the city of Les Cayes, sustained considerable damage when a fire broke out at the manufacturing facility recently. The fire investigators have not yet determined if the fire was an accident or act of arson.
Frager is the southwest region's biggest employer, supplying work for 25,000 peasant families. They grow and harvest vetiver, an ingredient in European perfumes. They sell their harvests to Frager, who has plant workers draw out its essential oil and prepare it to ship to Europe.
Although no one died or was injured, the fire has affected the southwest area's economy, Frager being the main driver of it. Frager is the primary producer and exporter of vetiver oil globally, its production output nearly two-thirds of the island's production.
Mario Perez, Director of the Dominican Institute of Grape, brought together a meeting for the discussion of cultivating vines in the south of Haiti. The vine would be used for the production of wine in the region.
Different environmental factors including appropriate sunlight, climate and well drained soil are necessary for growing vine grapes which normally take around three years to mature into viable grapes. Small bunches of shoots appear when the grapevine is planted in a spring season, which then has the tendency to rapidly grow in the first year. A thick trunk appears and a side cane grows using the support of a fence or wiring.
Poisson Gros Sel is a rich, traditional Haitian dish using red snapper, catfish, or tilapia. The preparation of the fish before cooking is essential. You must first remove both the genitals and gills of the fish, then use fresh limes to get rid of the fishy smell, by squeezing the limes all over the fish.
While the fish is resting for five to ten minutes, put the rest of the ingredients out: parsley, thyme, butter, garlic, more fresh limes, and salt. The most essential ingredient of all is Grandma's Marinating Sauce, which you will marinate the fish with for 30 minutes in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.
Haitian rice that has been cultivated in the country's fertile land for last 200 years has most likely origin in West Africa. Haiti was self sufficient in rice production till the middle of 1980's, thereafter, it dropped miserably. Since the beginning of the next decade, domestic production was outpaced by import. The main responsible factor identified for falling production is lower tariff on rice import by trade liberalization policies. At 3% import tariff, it is the lowest among all other nations in the Caribbean Community- it is cheaper to import than produce. This has left many already poor rural populations jobless.
With a thick air of mystery surrounding all aspects of the production of their finger-licking good fried chicken legs, Pack Super Market has found a sure winner they can sell on the 'cheep'.
16 years ago, Kernizan Philias' family opened the market which supplies food items in bulk in an establishment that resembles no fine eatery you've ever seen. Still, despite the less-than Michelin ready environ, the over-the-counter treat they provide for only $7 gets as much attention as would warrant a formal write-up.
Basing it on the popular Haitian fried pork shoulder recipe, griot, the family tried the recipe themselves before offering it up to customers. After deciding it was a 'flavorable' take on an old classic, the decision was made to use only chicken drumsticks as a way to keep costs down. As they explained, even wings would have been too expensive for the production, which would have pushed the cost up for the consumer. Today, for that measly $7 price-tag, patrons are able to receive a Styrofoam container of three to four drumsticks, fried plantains and a cascading pile of steaming rice and peas.
One of the specialty crops Haitian growers produce is vetiver, an essential oil. It is grown only in three rural towns: Massey, Faucault, and Bazelais, for Givaudan perfumers. Because the oil is so valued by Givaudan, they make growing, harvesting, and manufacturing vetiver an attractive proposition to the farmers in the region.
Givaudan has teamed up with the vetiver growers to form the Givaudan/Agri-Supply (GAS) cooperative. It is intended to fortify the delivery system for vetiver from Haiti. Both Agri-Supply, composed of Haitian growers, and Givaudan have pooled their resources to contribute to the development fund. Out of this fund, the growers are insured a minimum price for their labor, and backup technical assistance to help better the harvesting and distillation methods.
In continuing efforts to address the food crisis problem in Haiti, a distribution bank, operated by the Kore Peyizan program, handed out over 1,000 agricultural packages to St.-Rafaël growers for the winter planting season. On hand for the distribution was Minister and Agronomist, Mimose Marie Felix, a delegate for the Department of Promotion Peasantry.
Felix let the growers know the government of Haiti (GOH) is serious about raising the farmers' standard of living. To achieve this, agricultural production must increase substantially, not only for the farmers' own livelihoods, but to combat food insufficiency on the island. The farmers are grateful to the GOH for the support they receive through social assistance program, Ede Pèp. The agricultural packages received comprise bean seed, pesticide, and pesticide sprayers.
The National Coordination of Food Security (CNSA) has projected, based on figures generated up to the present, the 2013-2014 agricultural year is expected to be a good year in Haitian Agriculture. So far the cereal crop has increased as much as 33% over the 2012-2013 season, with some estimates placing the increase as high as 45%. However the yields fall 11% below the 2009-2010 season. Generally, for fiscal year 2012-2013 the crop yields were good, except for October because of Hurricane Sandy.
Spring-summer harvests are the largest of the year, when 75% of growers produce crop yields of corn, beans, peas, bananas, and tubers. The yields were especially good for 2013-2014. This was due to the urgings of the Ede Pèp Program.
On a recent visit to Cornillon, a town in the west department district of Croix-des-Bouquets, the Haitian head of state, President Michel Martelly made gifts to the long-standing town. On the occasion of their 125th anniversary, the residents of Cornillon were treated to a distribution of agricultural equipment from their president, one of whose mandates is the advancement of the Haitian agricultural sector.
The tools were given to local farmers who make their living farming cash crops such as coffee and fruit. As such, his stated intent was to assist them in making more bountiful harvests. However, as it stands, even with these new tools, farmers in the community of Cornillon still find it hard to eke out subsistence because of other, chronic problems plaguing the area.
Near the end of November a forum, attended by at least 12 internationally known panelists on the subject of Haitian coffee, was held to jumpstart the Korekafe project. Held in Thiotte, Haiti's first international 'Coffee Cupping Event' saw the participation of those such as: France's Christophe Eberhart and Florent Gout, Canada's Guylaine Pelletier, the USA's Brad Brandhost and Casey Blanche and Diane Nsengiyumva and Edouardo Ramos Samahoya from Haiti, among others.
The project was the brain child of Agronomists and Veterinarians Without Borders (AVSF), various partners locally as well as the French NGO. The panel gathered on the 28 and 29 of November to discuss Haitian coffee, its mysteries and the potential for its flavors in the presence of those players active in the local coffee industry.
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