ORE's high value tree crop program is based on the simple premise that by providing the local farmers with commercial tree crops it is possible to promote both sustainable economic growth and long-term protection of the environment.
Commercial fruit trees generate income and protect the environment
The program aims to increase the population of commercially productive trees, providing small farmers with a valuable source of income, and at the same time offering an economical solution to the Haiti's degraded environment. Trees producing high revenue crops survive deforestation, because they earn more every year than their value as wood products. The approach is to create a concentrated regional production of commercial fruits in selected areas, and train and assist farmer producer-groups to develop competitive marketing skills. The results are the creation of permanent eco-agricultural production bases, which become a central element in the local farming system, often helping to expand Haiti's existing export industries.
Strategy for impact
ORE has developed programs that go into rural areas and systematically help farmers to increase the number of commercially productive trees. In 1985 we introduced the first large scale fruit program using grafting, the simple technique whereby low quality fruit trees can be transformed into trees producing high value commercial crops. Since then we continued with programs promoting fruit trees, and were able to introduce most of the major commercial varieties of citrus, avocados and mangos into the country. Over the years nurseries have been established throughout the south of the country. Hundreds of private farmers and technicians working with local grassroots organizations have been trained in grafting. In total probably over half a million grafted trees have been produced, generating significant income for thousands of farmers.
Creating regional production of commercial fruit crops
In order to create a critical mass of productive trees in an area we typically try to identify fruits with a good market potential, introduce the necessary plant material and propagate trees in quantities large enough to produce commercial harvests. Nursery production of seedlings for distribution to farmers for planting, and the top-grafting of existing noncommercial fruit trees are the main production techniques. Nursery production makes it possible to produce large quantities of high quality grafted seedlings at a low cost. Top-grafting allows you to transform low quality fruit trees into trees that quickly produce commercial crops. Other techniques include tissue culture and minisetting used to mass multiply bananas and tuber crops.
Training programs are offered to teach a) propagation techniques: nursery production and grafting of fruit trees, and minisetting and cuttings of tuber crops; b) establishing and maintaining orchards; and c) postharvest and marketing skills: from picking to transportation and sales strategies.
The economic benefits of fruit trees based on annual crop values far exceed the revenue generated by traditional staple crops such as beans and corn. A mature mango trees, for instance, can produce from 1,500 to 8,000 fruits depending on their age earning up $100 every year.
Nutritional benefits result from extending the production seasons of popular fruit such as avocados, mango and citrus. In addition to the economic and environmental benefits, the proposed fruit crops supply essential nutritional benefits.
Grafting transforms low quality fruit trees into the best commercial varieties. Trees that earn money are rarely cut down to produce charcoal: they make more each year than their value as wood products. Grafted fruit trees help halt deforestation, they stabilize the environment and offer many nutritional benefits.
A look at ORE's Tree program
High value tree crops make perfect economic and environmental sense
The revenue from the new mango, avocado and citrus trees brings more income to local communities and stabilizes the environment in the region. The presence of trees that create an income brings a renewed feeling of hope, replacing the despondency and neglect that inevitably result from unprofitable agricultural.
Support our efforts to plant more high value trees in Haiti