Haiti Reconstruction

Rebuilding Haiti must start from the ground up, with agricultural education

Step 3: Produce more Food!

There are 5 main principles to produce more food

 

1st principle Water:  Without water there is no life

Plants and animals are composed of a lot of water and only thrive if they have access to it.

If there is enough rain good soil should hold enough moisture for plants till the next rainfall.

Depleted soil causes runoff since there is nothing left to hold moisture it makes desert like conditions in dryer seasons.

When Haiti has enough trees, plants and animals growing on the island they will expire enough moisture into the atmosphere to seed clouds that actually change weather patterns.

 

Plants must have enough moisture in the soil that plants can survive or you have to irrigate.

Animals also must have lots of water to produce a lot of milk.

 

The best solution is to make good soil that holds moisture.  This soil must have a lot of humus in it from composted vegetation for holding moisture.

Natural (permaculture) methods of improving Haiti are always the best.  Nature has all the plants and answers available for reconstructing the environment.   Nature would take hundreds of years to repair the damage occurred be deforestation and hundreds of years of depleting the soil.  We can repair the damage in 20years using plants that are already in Haiti.

 

Before you start composting you must look at your terrain.  In heavy rainfalls I have seen composted soil wash away even on what I thought was level ground.  You must consider putting in grasses to hold the compost in place.  If you are on steep terrain it will take vetiver’s long roots, this plant not only holds compost but also makes it automatically.

 

Irrigation may be necessary until the humus is accumulated in the soil.

 

If there is a water source nearby there are many options for irrigation.   The easiest is to canal or pipe water downhill to your gardens.  It is also possible to lift water to your gardens with treadle pumps

 

Click here to read more about Irrigation and Water lifting devices

 

Conservation of water is extremely important when it must be carried for miles,

pumped from wells or accumulated in cisterns.

Conservation of water is also important on island ground water supplies.  Ground water must be replenished especially with high demand agricultural projects.  Ground water is replenished when it soaks into the ground.  In Haiti’s mountainous landscape there is not much time for it to accumulate unless there are tree roots and grasses that hold it on the mountainside. 

Decertified land has nothing to hold the water so it even becomes more arid.

 

The best conservation measure is drip irrigation, which saves water by getting it directly to the plants roots.

 

Click here for more information on Drip Irrigation.

 

 

2nd principle:  Giving the correct nutrients to plants and animals to produce more food.  Must start with Good Soil!

 

a) Fertilize crops

Chemical fertilizer solutions are not wise from neither practical nor sensible reasons.

 

Nature provides the best natural fertilizers with permaculture techniques.  One plant can fertilize another when you select the correct crops by alley farming or crop rotation if on level land that is protected from erosion. 

 

 

 

Click here to read how alley farming can be done in mountainside gardening.

 

 

Most of the soil in Haiti is depleted of many nutrients that require supplements.

 

Biochar is a soil enhancer that can hold carbon and boost food security.

Terra preta is a black soil that is made by decomposition of plant, animal and human waist in an anaerobic condition

 

Microorganisms are needed to process nutrients so plants can absorb them. They also fight disease and deter pests that can attack plants or animals.

 

 

b) Feed animals

 

Animals need correct food to survive but vitamins and minerals will make them thrive. Healthy animals build up immunity systems to resist many diseases and illnesses.

"Experiments with Moringa (Benzolive) and milk cows. Dairy cows were supplemented with 15 to 17 kilograms of fresh Moringa leaves daily, and the cattle’s milk production increased by 43 percent. Then they supplemented the milk cows’ feed with 2 kg dry matter of Moringa per day, and milk production increased by 58 percent. When they increased it to 3 kg dry matter per day, and milk production increased by 65 percent.

Plants like benzolive with a lot of vitamins help humans both when we consume them or when we eat the that animals eat them!  When we eat plants like spinach we absorb aobut 10%

of its iron, when goats eat it they absorb 75% with 4 stomachs but after they process the iron we get 100% of the heme iron when we eat the red meat.

3rd principle Better Genetics: improved seeds, grafting and artificial insemination will produce more food.

Trees that are indigenous to their area have root structure to support their nutrient and moisture needs.  Citrus aurntium (sour or bitter orange tree) in Haiti grows well because of the massive root structure, so it is used to graft all other citrus fruit to it.

Improved seeds are also grown for the region they were developed for, so using these seeds produce more fruit.

Goats and pigs that have lived in Haiti have built immunities that keep them healthy when animals brought in have trouble surviving.  Artificial insemination brings new genes to does with immunities and increase milk and meat production.  But these new breeds will still require correct nourishment and probiotics to thrive. 

Click here for more on better genetics

 

4th principle: Control Insects that eat plants and Weeds that steal nutrients from plants, keep away disease and viruses in animals

The best offense to these problems is to have the best defense! 

Keep bugs away with coinciding plants that deter them.  Keep weeds away by start plants as seedlings from a nursery and so healthy with great soil they will outgrow and over shadow the weeds.  

 

Chemical pesticides on crops are a recipe for long term disaster. Their use actually leads to increase losses due to killing of predators and development of resistance.

Biological and natural pesticides are much more selective, less disruptive, less persistent in the environment, and generally much less toxic to people.

Healthy plants growing in a fertile healthy soil getting adequate water are the best defense against diseases and insects

bacteria and other micro-organisms work like an immune system that keeps plants healthy read more click here. 

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Citrus aurntium (sour or bitter orange tree) peels extract d-limonene a natural insectide 

Click here to read how Vetiver has biological enzimes to keep some insects away

 

 

 

There are five methods to controlling garden weeds:

In Haiti the 2nd and 3rd are impractical

  1. Biological is the most environmentally friendly method. This would call for implementing natural enemies of weeds like insects, small animals.  
  2. Chemical is the most effective method to controlling weeds. Herbicides can be used to kill weeds. These have two types; selective and non-selective. Selective kills weed only, where non-selective kills everything it touches.
  3. Cultural is a chemical that prevents new seeds from germinating, the best method of preventing weeds from spreading but is way too expensive in Haiti!
  4. Mulching: A great tool for weed control and easy to do in mountainside gardening with the fodder from vetiver grass and leaves of plants that are planted between the rows. This mulch not only keeps weeds from getting started but fertilizes the soil as it holds moisture for plants.
  5. Mechanical means is our last method and probably the least popular. This involves labor...even bending down and pulling by hand or with a tool to remove root and all. And if you only have a few, this is the best method.

5th principle: Establish Nurseries, protected gardens or fenced pens and new practices such as cut an carry or aqua & hydroponics to provide more nourishment 

 

Nurseries give plants and animals a head start.  Everything will multiply faster when they have special care.

Seedlings for trees, grass and vegtables in prepared soil watered properly have, neutrients and minerals they need, in fertil biochar soil with effective microoraganizms will grow fast and can be replanted quickly in family or mountainside gardens.

Gardens and animals babies are safer in fenced area for protection and better care.

Poultry can reproduce faster and lay more eggs with less mortality in Chicken tractors

 

Click here to read how to produce more chickens

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