Ending the Cycle of Deforestation
Commitment by: The Timberland Company
Commitment Partners: Clinton Foundation, Heifer International, Smallholder Farmers Alliance, Trees That Feed Foundation, Yéle Haiti, Trees for the Future, Green Network
Haiti’s biological diversity is one of the richest in the Caribbean. Its mountainous topography includes lush green cloud forests, beaches, arid deserts, and mangrove and papaya forests. Today, this precious environment is threatened by severe deforestation and desertification caused by natural disasters, over-use of land by farmers and livestock, and harvesting of trees to sell as charcoal. Timberland’s 2010 commitment aimed to reverse this dangerous decline in tree populations by developing a large-scale agroforestry program in rural Haiti. Achieved through the creation of the Smallholder Farmers Alliance (SFA), this program now works with more than 3,200 farmer-members to implement a social enterprise model designed to help feed and reforest a renewed Haiti.
Incorporating local partners and farmers from day one, SFA transforms smallholder farmers into self-financing and self-managed social businesses with a triple bottom line: planting trees, increasing food production, and improving farm livelihoods. The farmers grow and transplant trees in exchange for a service that includes high-quality seed, improved tools, and agricultural training. This results in increased crop yields and income. Once sustained production levels are reached, the program is handed over to local agroforestry cooperatives to manage. The first cooperative in Gonaives has been independent for two years.
In 2014, SFA made its own CGI commitment to scale this proven business model to work with 2,000 small-scale farmers in the Saint-Michel de l’Attalaye area in Haiti. SFA will train farmers, educate their children about the value of trees, and facilitate the participation of women in agriculture through microcredit programs.
The work of The Timberland Company and the Smallholder Farmers Alliance has resulted in a 30–50 percent increase in average farm livelihoods and 5,000,000 trees planted since 2010.