JATROFA PEPINYÈ - Climate and Cash in Haiti's dry Northeast. All of Haiti’s climate is not the same - the mountains of this island nation have fractured the Caribbean climate into a mosaic of microclimates. Some can produce food crops throughout the year but others like Jatrofa Pepinyè’s cannot.
In the dry Northeast, the key to reliable farm incomes, is a “crop-and- companion” system that combines the stability of a native plant, Jatropha, which is adapted to low rainfall, with seasonal vegetables, grazing animals, honey bees, and dry-adapted trees that are coppiced for building materials.
The Haitian team at JP is earning money from its products and returning income to the farmers who grow Jatropha.
It is producing 3 new products for the Haitian market: a high quality bar of soap, hair oil for women, and fragrant moisturizing oil. Along with biodiesel, they are creating a viable agricultural market for a crop, which is ecologically well-adapted and appropriate to a dry savannah climate.
Acting as a cooperative, JP buys seeds from farmers at a good price by producing and selling products that are useful to Haitians and which are otherwise imported to Haiti. We want hard-earned Haitian money to stay in Haiti and not get sent overseas to import soap, oil, and diesel fuel.
Every time someone buys one of our bars of soap, or uses a gallon of our biodiesel, it’s money in the pocket of an independent Haitian farmer. Locally grown, locally made, and locally consumed - that's the sustainable way.
Our outcomes to date are significant: 54 farmers working 210 acres with 118,000 Jatropha trees and companion crops.
But dear friends, as positive as all of this is, Jatrofa Pepinyè is vul- nerable. We’re at the “house of cards” stage of development - we must simultaneously pay farmers a fair price for their harvested seeds, produce products from those seeds, develop markets to sell those products to earn the money to pay the farmers, and at the same time, expand cultivation to increase yields to sustain production. All are linked, none can be omitted.
This comes at a time when when our donations are at an all time low. We’re at risk. If you can consider a donation, now is the time.