Sustainable Agricultural Practices

Sustainable Agricultural Practices

Ouanaminthe, HaitiOuanaminthe, Haiti
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

UJANE contributes to the long-term valorization and profitability of under/misused resources by developing farmers’ capabilities, while respecting the environment. We created a support network of local farmer organizations, providing training and inputs and running an organic fertilizer enterprise.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Our solution tackles the problem of inefficient land management: the products used so far have been polluting the environment. Deforestation, caused by a high need for combustible, strongly accelerated land erosion, decreased water infiltration capacities, and damaged biodiversity. Farmers keep on misusing land because they have no other choice. This issue led to other social, economic, demographic and political difficulties.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Most farmers use old unproductive techniques: youth from UJANE train farmers on improving their yield and reaching a reasonable level of food security. The new techniques are focused on long-term optimal and environmentally-friendly use of resources. UJANE works with 5 farmer organizations through a network to ease the production, certification and commercialization of organic products through technical support, seeds exchange, traditional resources and know-how. We also work on changing public policies on agricultural management. Finally, our project for scaling up our organic fertilizer micro-enterprise will allow the long-term sustainable funding of those activities.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Let us take the example of a farmer trained by our organization. We observed that after he replicated the methods and techniques he learned, he harvested in 3 months what he used to harvest in 1 year. This means a production (and revenue) increase by 300%. This money has been used for a wide range of services and products, all contributing to a better standard of living: health, housing conditions improvement, electricity and education for his children. In addition to the economic conditions improvement, this farmer contributes to the protection of the environment. Methods taught by UJANE are indeed environment friendly since chemicals are prohibited by the program.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Some schools, for instance, train students in agricultural techniques, but students need to pay, and fees are usually way too expensive for the people targeted by our initiative. People that we target are established farmers who are not as profitable as they could be. Some organizations like Ashoka Fellow's AGRISUD organization offer a similar training program but are not active in Ouanaminthe. Also what makes us different is that our model for economic sustainability is based on the production of an environment-friendly product.
About You
Organization:
UJANE (Union des jeunes pour l'advancement du nord-est)
About You
First Name

Hans

Last Name

Vixama

About Your Project
Organization Name

UJANE (Union des jeunes pour l'advancement du nord-est)

Organization Country

, NE, Ouanaminthe

Country where this project is creating social impact

, NE, Ouanaminthe

How long has your organization been operating?

More than 5 years

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Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.

UJANE is a youth organization, founded in 2006. We have 60 leaders representing 600 youngsters (14-25 yrs old) in 6 communities in the Northeast of Haiti. We focus on empowering youth to become active agents of change to address critical community needs. We promote and sell affordable technologies (solar lamps, eye glasses, water filters), run health campaigns, and support a network of farmer groups in 5 communities. Haiti is one of the youngest populations in the world - mobilizing the youth is critical. Of all needs in Haiti, food security and deforestation are some of the most urgent needs; that is why we created a network of farmer organizations and have also developed a micro enterprise for converting waste into an organic fertilizer.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Nutrition, Waste, Sustainable Agriculture, Smallholder Farmers.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

UJANE works with 5 farmer organizations, which we have trained in sustainable agricultural practices. Based on the specific needs they have, we also created an organic fertilizer micro enterprise - farmers from this network can now get this fertilizer; we sell the rest. We also address community needs across the whole region by promoting and selling essential technologies through a group of micro entrepreneurs - such as solar lamps and water filters. Our work is in response to local community needs.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

Farmers acquire know-how in agriculture and agro-ecology, which they share with others, creating a snowball effect. Farmers’ yields and revenues increase (by 300% on average per year). Work is also easier thanks to the network we have in place, which supports the exchange of equipment, tools, inputs, and knowledge. 50 farmers have been trained by UJANE so far and the objective is to train 150 each year.
Our work also has an environmental impact - farmers now use environmentally friendly techniques.
Our impact is also political: our structure as a successful network of organizations makes us stronger and more efficient to influence policies. In partnership with an Ashoka Fellow, we also sold over 250 technologies since February through a group of 5 young micro entrepreneurs from our network. Moreover, we include women in our decisions so they can have a stronger voice in the society.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

UJANE seeks to scale up our organic fertilizer initiative to sustain its activities and become financially independent. We are already training farmers on this technique and plan to establish a micro enterprise in each of the 5 communities where we already work. Fertilizer will be produced and sold to local farmers. According to our preliminary budget, the start-up cost of 5 micro centers is 380,000HTG (roughly USD$9,000). We have the know-how and local network in place, but we need to mobilize the seed capital. This competition would help us jumpstart this work.

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

We will get revenues every 3 months from the fertilizer sales. With 30,000 earthworms per micro enterprise, we can produce 500 kg of fertilizer per quarter per center; that's 2,000 kg/yr/center. From those, 300 kg/center will be distributed in the 1st quarter to farmers in exchange for their green waste, and the rest will be sold at 100 HTG/kg. We project yearly revenue at 850,000HTG, and a yearly profit of 115,000HTG, with breakeven in 3.5 yrs.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

We ran health campaigns to limit the spread of cholera. We also work with 2 Ashoka Felllows, leveraging their methodologies to provide access to finance and technologies. We have grouped 35 local members who have pooled their savings to create their own credit fund. We have also trained 5 young micro entrepreneurs to promote and sell essential technologies in their communities - they have sold over 250 technologies since February 2013.