Haiti—Appui a la Valorisation du potentiel Agricole du Nord, pour la Securite Economique et Environnementale (AVANSE)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2013-2020

Region: Latin America and the Caribbean

Country: Haiti

Solutions: Economic Growth

Despite the steeply sloped terrain, the soil of northern Haiti has the potential to produce profitable cash crops such as rice, bananas, and cacao. However, a lack of access to markets and poor agriculture techniques has kept crop prices and yields low, while floods, droughts, and landslides are a constant threat to farmers’ harvests and livelihoods. These factors have contributed to a persistent cycle of poverty, malnutrition, and food insecurity in the region.

To help Haitian farmers confront these challenges, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, launched the AVANSE program to catalyze inclusive, sustainable economic growth in a potentially highly productive agricultural area in Haiti. AVANSE was the flagship Feed the Future program in the region, and partnered with smallholder farmers to build resilience to extreme weather events, increase agricultural productivity, and improve livelihood opportunities.

AVANSE worked with farmers and the private sector to address key constraints within production and value chains, from improving watershed stability and irrigation infrastructure, to increasing direct access to produce buyers. During the life of the project, AVANSE made significant contributions to transformative, positive change in the agriculture sector in the Northern Corridor of Haiti. Not only did average farmers’ yields and income more than double, but 32 improved technologies were introduced and used by more than 50,000 farmers, and more than 30 small, medium, and large agribusinesses were assisted and strengthened.

Sample Activities

  • Introduce higher-yield crop varieties and cultivation techniques for strategic crops (rice, bananas, and cacao).
  • Pilot a voucher program to increase beneficiaries’ access to agricultural inputs, such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides, while stimulating local markets for these commodities.
  • Conduct environmental assessments in watersheds to ensure compliance with Haitian Government and USAID environmental regulations and to create a better understanding of the delicate nature of the watersheds and dangers of mismanagement.
  • Provide grants to community-based organizations for agroforestry and soil conservation activities, including training and purchasing planting material and seedlings.
  • Provide grants to local businesses for equipment and small-scale infrastructure to increase productivity and create jobs.
  • Support the development of numerous public-private partnerships, focusing on improving cooperatives’ post-harvest crop handling and processing capacity, contributing to their readiness to enter the higher value organic market.

Select Results

  • Provided equipment subsidies and training on improved plantain agricultural practices and technologies applied on 4,774 hectares, which helped 6,221 plantain farmers in the North of Haiti triple their yields, from baseline average of six metric tons per hectare to 18 and also considerably increased their agricultural income.
  • Facilitated a 700 percent rise in export sales of cacao. AVANSE’s efforts to intensify production and to assist growers and exporters to expand into premium markets for fermented, organic, and fair-trade cacao made a significant contribution to this positive trend.
  • Disseminated 32 different techniques across the northern corridor that were applied by 51,455 farmers on 27,930 hectares of land, leading to increased yields.
  • Increased annual plantain yields from a baseline value of 6 metric tons (MT) in 2013 to 18 MT in 2019. Single-crop rice yields increased from 2.5 MT in 2013 to 6 MT in 2018, and annual cacao yields increased from 319 kilograms per hectare in 2013 to 455 in 2019.
  • Distributed more than 6 million trees and crop plants, contributing not only to soil conservation and erosion prevention by stabilizing slopes above selected plains, but also contributing to household food security and increased income for farmers.
  • Established, with Auburn University, the first soil lab in the region which provides modern soil and water testing services to farmers using atomic absorption and other analytical instruments currently unavailable in the region.
  • Upgraded 22 enterprises, 13 of which are female-owned, through investment in value-added processing that transforms unprocessed commodities into market goods with higher value, boosting job creation, and generating greater revenues for local enterprises.
  • Assisted 1,207 formerly unemployed or underemployed young people and 22 female-led agribusinesses to generate income from their agriculture activities.
  • In 2016, organized smallholder cacao farmers into vendor groups to combine and manage stocks and sell directly to Haiti’s largest cacao exporter, Novella, leading to an almost 100 percent increase in the price per pound sold by farmers.


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