group of researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute want to use innovative agriculture to help some of the world’s poorest communities with food security. They are currently raising funds to work with Zanmi Agrikol (which means “Partners in Agriculture” in Creole) to help reduce the cost of animal protein and increase female entrepreneurship in Haitian communities.
The researchers’ goal is to develop and deploy “Poultry Kits” to help Haitian women increase their income and community food options. The kits allow for the production of chicken feed at a lower cost than current methods (usually corn-based). The chickens raised will produce eggs and meat that can be sold at market prices to generate income for the women, and increase the community food supply.
It takes $2,000 to create and deploy one kit, which will enable up to 10 women to earn a little over $50 a month. The base kit comes with equipment and materials to grow algae that will supply 20% of the poultry feed, 50 full grown chickens, and 80% of traditional feed required to begin turning a profit. Part of the funds will be used by Zanmi Agrikol to train and support the Haitian women so that they can continue to turn a profit.
Food insecurity is one of Haiti’s greatest problems, with much of the population suffering from malnutrition. Though chickens are widely available in Haiti, they are cost prohibitive to raise due to the high price of imported feed. Feeding chickens with locally grown grains is not realistic, as these same grains can be used to feed hungry children and adults. Algae are easy to grow and can supplement poultry feed up to 20%, decreasing the cost of raising chickens. The Poultry Kit will provide the supplies needed to build an algae system and begin raising a flock of chickens on supplemented feed.
Zanmi has already identified that the growing of algae and raising of chickens by women will not be in conflict with traditional Haitian practices. Additionally, the kits will be set up on Zanmi land and participating women will be trained and coached until they consistently turn a profit.