Connecting farmers to a market for their product is a key objective of our program.
Helping smallholder subsistence farmers transition to small business owners is a goal of our program. By connecting farmers to a market for their product, we allow them to capitalize on their spirit of entrepreneurship. Once we have instituted an animal health program and optimized productivity, we believe it is important to foster a small business mindset by linking the farmers to a dependable market for what they produce.
One such market that we have taken advantage of is a charity-sponsored school nutrition program. Aid organizations often address the nutritional needs of children with fortified blended foods such as corn- or wheat-soy blends. However, feeding the children locally sourced meat has several benefits over these imported products. First, purchasing local meat supports regional small businesses such as farmers and butchers. Second, goat meat is an excellent source of lean protein, iron, and zinc, and published studies have demonstrated a beneficial effect of animal source protein on learning in school-age children.
We believe that encouraging non-governmental organizations involved in addressing malnutrition in children to purchase locally-sourced goat meat instead of imported protein supplements will help to support the entire livestock value chain. Ensuring there are adequate goat suppliers, butchers, and food service professionals will provide vocational training opportunities and leverage existing human capital in a country with a rich agricultural tradition.
An example of an excellent school nutrition program which has agreed to purchase animals from farmers in L'Azile, Haiti is the North Carolina State University "Farm to Fork" program in Gressier, Haiti. To read more about that program, click here. This program distributes 1800 protein-fortified meals per month to schoolchildren.
We welcome your comments, questions, or any other feedback.