Politics of Poverty

USAID’s answer to Oxfam on the article on the WINNER project in Haiti

Posted by

“The distribution of the bins to FADPG was carried out according to the grant agreement.” But is that enough for farmers?

The USAID Feed the Future WINNER Project sign at a demonstration plot for farmers associations in Goyavier, Haiti. Photo: Shiloh Strong / Oxfam America
The USAID Feed the Future WINNER Project sign at a demonstration plot for farmers associations in Goyavier, Haiti. Photo: Shiloh Strong / Oxfam America

This month’s CloseUp magazine hits mailboxes this week, containing a feature on Oxfam America’s Aid Effectiveness Team’s work in Haiti. It includes a specific story about a farmers association and delivery of storage bins in Goyavier by Chemonics, the for-profit contractor that is implementing the Feed the Future WINNER project in western Haiti. In early September, Oxfam reached out to USAID/Haiti for a comment on the draft article.

Below the magazine portal, we have shared USAID’s statement on the draft article (in color), in which they respond specifically to the storage bins delivery. Do note that USAID’s viewpoint has been incorporated into the final version of the article, “We are spectators no more” and that we have excluded the name of the federation president, for which Oxfam did not have informed consent. USAID has also published a related story about Goyavier potato farming.

We welcome a continued discussion with USAID here on the Politics of Poverty blog, as a fruitful dialogue between decision makers and the people who have a direct experience of aid projects is Oxfam’s continued intent. Read the CloseUp article below (pages 11-14), as well as more on Oxfam’s perspective on the article here.


USAID’s Answer to OXFAM on the article on WINNER

USAID’s Feed the Future West (WINNER) is a multi-sectoral project that aims to increase Haitian farmers’ incomes in U.S. Government development corridors―Cul-de-Sac and Matheux—and the Mirebalais region.  Through agricultural intensification, rehabilitation of rural infrastructure, and good governance of natural resources, the program improves the livelihoods of targeted farmers.  The program works in close cooperation with farmers and farmers’ associations, non-governmental organizations, agribusinesses, and government actors to comprehensively increase agricultural productivity and post-harvest efficiency and improve the management and protection of the corridors’ key watersheds.

The main aim of the WINNER program is to help farmers grow more food and increase their incomes.  The program works in close cooperation with farmers’ associations to assess their needs, while providing training and introducing effective agricultural methods.  The assistance includes provision of seeds, fertilizers, tools, and appropriate technologies.  The program also supports sustainable hillside agriculture, erosion control, tree planting, and watershed governance, as well as creating markets for the agricultural produce by improving rural roads, strengthening market information systems and post-harvest operations and by helping to establishing public-private-producer partnerships.

Among other benefits, the WINNER program has:

  • Increased the output of nearly 15,000 farmers, generating more than $7 million in income.

  • Trained and graduated over 2,000 master farmers

  • Introduced improved seeds, fertilizers, and technologies to over 17,000 farmers

  • Increased beneficiary farmers’ rice yields by 129 percent, corn yields by 368 percent, bean yields by 100 percent, and plantain yields by 21 percent

  • Distributed over 260 greenhouses to beneficiary farmers to improve farming techniques on degraded hillsides

The OXFAM article contains inaccuracies concerning the bin distribution to the Federation of Farmers for Development of Goyavier (FAPDG). Following our conversation with [the president of the Federation], this week, here is USAID’s description of events.

In August 2012, in response to a Request for Application (RFA) issued by Feed the Future West-WINNER, FAPDG submitted an application requesting support (bins) to carry out post-harvest activities in the Goyavier area.  FAPDG clearly specified its needs and described the activities to be implemented. At the end of the selection process, WINNER granted 31 bins, each having a capacity of 1.4 metric tons (MT), amounting to a total of 45 MT, to the federation among other requested post-harvest items to be distributed to 15 member associations under FAPDG. The capacity provided met less than the total need indicated by the Federation.  According to the terms and conditions of the grant, FAPDG was supposed to ensure transportation of the bins to its headquarter in Goyavier, as part of the cost-share or contribution from the federation. As indicated in the OXFAM article, the bins were delivered in two sets of 15 and 16. FAPDG paid for the transportation of the first set and installation of the first 15 bins. According to [the president], the federation paid 2500 gourdes on average [about US$57] to transport each bin to Goyavier.

However, facing financial constraints, FAPDG requested help from WINNER in transporting the second set of bins into Goyavier, and the project did. According to [the federation president], the federation has had a storage plan for the Goyavier area. He stresses that, considering the growing pattern of agricultural production in the area and the goal of some local member farmers to purchase seeds (bean, maize, sorghum, etc.) and store them for scarce periods, 31 bins meets only part of the federation’s needs.

In conclusion, the distribution of the bins to FADPG was carried out according to the grant agreement. Good collaboration and partnership have played a major role in the process. The bins the project provided have met the needs and expectations of the federation, in fact additional bins have been requested to meet their total need.

Oxfam.org Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Google+