Rebuilding Haiti must start from the ground up, with agricultural education
The program is no good if the people cannot thrive much less survive.
Farmers have planted pitimi and mayi, (grain sorghum and corn) on these hillsides and will most likely not stop as they need to survive!
As long as we can get them to alley farm and plant vetiver hedgerows below they can continue cultivating the soil.
Once vetiver is established correctly it will speed up the terracing effect and they will see results actually faster.
We also want them to plant Leucaena just below the preceding hedgerow, or on less steep land plant black beans around their corn. They will see these nitrogen fixing plants will increase their yield!
We want to enrich the soil but we must find plants they need at the same time.
Besides food they still need wood for furniture. Some fast growing trees can be used for charcoal production but this is a very inefficient method of fuel
We must be careful what we put between our hedge row gardens, some plants are too invasive and may be poisonous.
Another plant to consider is Saccharum edule if you are in an area without droughts or you can irrigate.
From the sugar cane family
Fruit trees are great but there must be enough moisture to sustain them, in some areas, even with humus on terraces some fruit trees may not withstand the dry seasons.
See Step 3 better genetics on how to improve chances of growing fruit trees on mountainsides.
Prosopis juliflora (Mesquite).For it's fast growth for charcoal use and nitrogen fixing ability, although we 1st plan on doing more study as it can be very invasive with some undesirable qualities.
Prosopis sp. is known worldwide as a leguminous nitrogen fixing tree, able to adapt to arid conditions or saline soils. It provides fodder and fuel wood but also has a reputation as a weed and undesirable thorny tree in many circumstances. In this video Peruvian children picking the very sweet pods but from very strong thorns that can even pierce car tires. The native Haitian Prosopis pods are much more bitter but are nearly thornless
Extensive research has been carried out in its natural range (southern and northern America) also in counties where it is exotic (India, Mauritania, Sudan) resulting in better understanding of its potential.
(i) on the genetics : Although the Peruvian origin seems to be one of the best, it is proved that individual tree variation is critical, therefore colonel production from selected trees is recommended. Priority may be awarded to thornless trees and in situ grafting on wild rootstock may be a way to disseminate genetically improved prosopis.
(ii) on the uses : Prosopis is the only tree able to yield 2.5 tons of wood/ha/year where nothing else can grow. On saline soils in India this can rise to 12 tons. However, in better soil conditions other, less aggressive species would be recommended.
(iii) on the products : Prosopis timber has very good technological properties (low shrinkage, high resistance), these and its red brown color makes it attractive for high quality furniture and flooring. It can also be considered as a major component for food and fodder production from its fruits/pods.
(iv) on the commercial front: There are examples of private businesses based on prosopis wood products including furniture and flooring, fuel wood, barbeque wood chunks, charcoal and also food and fodder products are marketed in Brazil, Haiti and Peru.
Flamboyant Trees (Delonix regia) that already grow in the dryer areas of our Sister Parish have similar characteristics. Our Agriculture groups in Haiti say they grow very fast have large roots that make good charcoal. They also say they are very good for bee's honey, we are studying their qualities. The dry seedpods make great gasifier stove fuel.
Viln'es director of chapel in Labiche shows us a tree they like to plant because of its beautiful wood working characteristics they call Che'ne maybe oak. The botanical name for this tree is Catalpa longissima. We have pictures of it and are finding more about it.
Mahogany Trees The last seeds we distributed to our sister parish is Venezuelan Mahogany (Swietenia candollei). They grow faster than the variety from Haiti. It is not for alley cropping, but is to replace a little of the canopy that once covered Haiti. It is to be planted on the poorest soils on the steepest terraces of the vetiver.