Hurricane recovery in Camp Perrin
Located in the mountainous region of southwestern Haiti, Camp Perrin is home to around 65,000 people. The majority of the inhabitants make their living through agriculture. The main crop is cassava, which they grind into flour and sell throughout the country, but they also grow beans, sweet potatoes, plantains, and other staple crops. The agricultural land in and around Camp Perrin was completely destroyed by Hurricane Matthew. Deep in the mountains, with restricted access via damaged roads and bridges, the town is quickly running out of food. As humanitarian relief organizations concentrate their efforts in larger cities like Les Cayes and Jeremie, very little aid has reached Camp Perrin.
OPMAGAT is collective of farmers based in Camp Perrin, with more than 200 current members. The organization was founded in 1993 with the goal of improving conditions for farmers through reforestation, protection of the environment, access to microfinance, and promotion of agriculture, livestock breeding, health, and education. One of their most noteworthy projects was to purchase cassava milling equipment and trucks for transportation of their cassava flour--enabling local farmers to scale up production. The farmers of OPMAGAT plan to reforest the area and reestablish their cassava crops, but right now they need to plant fast-growing food crops for the community. Still taking stock of the damage wrought by Hurricane Matthew, they lack the resources to purchase seeds and other necessary supplies.
In the wake of the disaster, we partnered with OPMAGAT to assist in their efforts to rehabilitate agricultural lands damaged by the hurricane. The OPMAGAT farmers have mobilized quickly, using our modest donation to buy seeds and replace their gardening tools, and have planted multiple large raised beds in eight locations in the area. Overseen by a trained agronomist at each site, community members are working together to grow quick-growing vegetable seedlings. When the seedlings are ready, one hundred and forty families - over 1,000 people - will transplant the seedlings into their personal gardens to reap the benefits of their labor. Our cofounders visited Camp Perrin on a recent trip to Haiti, and were so impressed with the work OPMAGAT was doing. This is an organization doing invaluable work in their community, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with them as they rebuild their livelihoods.