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K-State Today

May 15, 2024

Despite unrest in Haiti K-State-CEMARCH partnership hosts May Day activities

Submitted by Sanders Williams

Students at Notre Dame learning how best to plant trees for continued reforestation.

Through its USAID Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab, or SIIL, Kansas State University has partnered with six agricultural universities in Haiti, with an overall goal to create improved agricultural sustainability in research and education.

 The Center for Mitigation, Adaptation, and Resilience to Climate-Change in Haiti, or CEMARCH, is a $12 million USAID-Haiti supported K-State project that works with Haitian faculty, students, farmers, members of private ag groups and government ministers. With a tagline of "By Haitians for Haitians," K-State works with its Haitian partner universities to create bachelor's and master's scholarships, conduct research at university Agricultural Technology Parks and develop training opportunities for farmers and other local citizens in Haiti. Given the current safety and security issues in Haiti, and especially those in the capital of Port-au-Prince, there are times when the university work is at jeopardy. However, when Haitian Labor Day and Haitian Agricultural Day occur on May 1, it is time for an education celebration.

Four CEMARCH partners hosted Labor and Agriculture Day events from April 28 to May 1 that included an agricultural fair, educational conference and hands-on activities.

"The education and demonstration projects offered at these various fairs directly fits the goals of CEMARCH — which is to work with Haitians for soil and water protection in a changing climate," said Vara Prasad, university distinguished professor, R.O. Kruse endowed professor and K-State SIIL director. 

These activities are a testimony to the strong partnerships developed between USAID, K-State and our partner universities in Haiti. Proper funding, team-based leadership and continued communication enabled these events to happen, even in regions of some risk. It truly shows that Haiti can flourish in troubling times, working to create opportunities in Haitian agriculture for their farmers and citizens.

"It is remarkable how CEMARCH has been able to get functioning in such a short time," said Absalon Pierre, the chief of party of CEMARCH. "Thanks to the support of USAID and K-State, this project will start to provide valuable production information for growers in the area."