Written by Gordon Clark, H4H Horticultural Consultant

The road to self sustainability is not an expressway. In a developing country such as Haiti, this road to success is similar to the roads in that country. It has detours, bridges out, burning tires in the street, flooding and all manner of barriers slowing the progress to get to the end destination.

Let’s look at the issues PHF has had to deal with on their road: Hurricane Matthew wiping out a whole crop of plantain, political disturbances disrupting trade, 5 month drought during the ‘rainy season’ damaging crops, cholera and COVID pandemics.

Yet along this road they now work 7 farms, have planted over a 1000 fruit trees, grown covercrops/green manure to improve the soil, employed local people, developed business plans, experimented with new crops.

Before I retired I worked at a fruit orchard/garden center/landscaping business. Their road to profitability was long and arduous. Apple trees won’t start bearing until the 4th year after planting, at the earliest. And it will be at least 6 more years before there is enough of a crop to start paying back all the expenses.To continue down the highway to prosperity one co-owner worked as a caretaker of an estate and the other co-owner taught school. The road blocks and detours include losing most of the crop to a late freeze, a summer hail storm, a drought and attack of insects and disease. And this was in a developed country!

I found the following points that could be mile markers on the road to effective development. The project should be:

  •  People-focused
  •  Participatory
  •  Based on strengths, not needs
  •  Based on strong partnerships
  •  Holistic
  •  Flexible and dynamic  Sustainable (economic, social, environmental and institutional)
  • Sustainable (economic, social, environmental and institutional)

from:: The Vital Community Element in Sustainable Projects: The Aurecom Group

PHF/H4H partnership includes everyone of these points. As PHF travels the road, H4H continues to supply the expertise and support to head towards the ultimate goal.

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