The plantain and banana program is designed to regenerate production which has been decimated by the world-wide epidemic of a fungal disease called Black Sigatoka, causing food security issues in Haiti.
Black Sigatoka has decimated banana production in Haiti
This epidemic disease has virtually wiped out the bananas (a major element of the Haitian diet) grown by subsistence farmers for the domestic market. In today's volatile climate of increasing distress due to the rising cost of importing basic foods, restoring the country's production of this most valuable food crop to its full capacity is absolutely critical.
ORE is propagating resistant varieties, originally provided by various international research centers. We have selected varieties that perform well and are popular because they have the same taste as the traditional ones that are disappearing. We provide farmers in various parts of the country with a stock of plant material that they can grow and multiply locally.
Reestablishing plantation production will also provide significant environmental benefits to the regions concerned. Fruit trees such as banana have been proven key for the prevention of soil erosion due to rain or hurricanes.
Statistics show that over a quarter of Haitian children suffer from chronic malnutrition and a larger percentage of adults are undernourished. Sustainable plantain production in Haiti is widely recognized as an important step towards food security. Plantains and bananas are staple foods that represent major dietary sources of carbohydrates, fiber vitamins A, B6 and C, potassium, phosphorus and calcium. However, as a result of the Sigatoka virus production is declining and higher prices and scarcity of this staple food are inevitably aggravating existing levels of malnutrition.
A look at ORE's plantain and banana regeneration program
National Impact on Food Supply
As the disease is progressing rapidly, national support for this type of program is required: eighty percent of the crop has been lost to black Sigatoka, and eighty percent of the food value is lost. A large percentage of the Haitian population is involved in plantain and banana production, which are major staples of the population diet. Wide-spread support is required to address the current decline in production - as farmers are abandoning these once-profitable commercial crop as income from traditional, planting fertile lands with low-revenue subsistence crops instead.
The introduction, propagation and distribution of viable, disease-resistant varieties is highly feasible and cost-effective. This program is adapted to the current food crisis and perfectly adapted to Haitian farming needs today.
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