Grant To Small-Scale Sorghum Farmers Supply Local Markets In Haiti

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There are many good news for the Haitian sorghum producers. Two companies, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Papyrus, a project management firm with experience in agribusiness have come forward to their assistance. MIF has recently approved $2.4 million grant to help the small-scale sorghum farmers under a 4-year project named "Smallholder Alliance for Sorghum in Haiti (SMASH)" which would be implemented under supervision of 'Papyrus'. The objective of the project is to enhance the skills for about the 18,000 sorghum farmers in five Haitian departments (North and North East, West, South, Artibonite, and Plateau Central) and support their marketability. SMASH also addresses issues like poor soil quality and efficient harvest yields.

Sorghum has established itself as one of the foodstuffs most widely consumed by the low-income communities, especially in rural areas in Haiti, where its consumption has increased substantially during the last twenty years, reaching a present level of 90,000 tons a year. Once the production was 215,000 tons in1972, but came down to the present level since 1996 (as per index mundi). It is cultivated over a total area around 158,000 hectares, with a low yield around 0.85 tons per hectare which has enough scope for improvement. Most of the 200,000 farmers engaged in the sorghum cultivation, cultivates on small individual plots with an average size of two hectares. It is a staple grain and is also widely used by the beverage companies like, Heineken and others, as a main ingredient for brewing beer and malt drinks.

SMASH program is a project under the joint funding of The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) and Brasserie Nationale d'Haiti (BRANA). BRANA is the manufacturer of the popular 'Prestige' beer, one of the premium American Style lagers produced in the Caribbean. In 2012, Heineken consolidated its majority ownership of Brasserie Nationale d'Haiti S.A. (BRANA), and invested around $20 million for constructing a fifth production line that launched in December 2013 to double its output.

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