The Agro-forest Regional Nursery (ARN) Foundation of Haiti was established to focus upon watershed management, agro-forest restoration, sustainable agro-forest/agriculture practices and job creation.
Deforestation in Haiti is one of the primary causes, if not the main cause of unreliable or unsustainable safe drinking water supply. The ARN Foundation of Haiti concentrates upon the root causes of these issues.
In November of 2007, the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development stated that ” it would take 1 billion trees every year for the next15 years to recover 28% of the Haiti’s forest”. A further USAID report ‘Environmental Vulnerability in Haiti’, 2007, makes the claim that landscape restoration of the watersheds will buy time for longer‐term efforts to boost broader economic growth, family planning, improved education and good governance in secondary cities. Up to now, the USAID report maintains, there has been no precedent in Haiti for successful interventions at the level of whole watersheds; success has been achieved at localized or pilot scales.
Nevertheless, to effectively reduce vulnerability, interventions must engage a critical mass of farmers and affect the preponderance of slopes within watersheds. Once again the USAID reports that the challenge, therefore, is to scale up interventions in scattered plots and isolated ravines and promote alternatives to erosion‐intensive agriculture on Haiti’s slopes.
In order to address the pressing conditions, which the USAID and government of Haiti have acknowledged, the ARN Foundation was established, in March of 2008. As a Haitian non-for-profit, the ARN proposes to create and manage agro-forest regional nurseries ,located within the 10 most important watershed in Haiti, in order to provide valuable agro-forest tree stocks, create new employment opportunities in support of the nurseries, as well as, to focus upon the transferring of sustainable environmental practices to Haitian farmers.
The scale of production, supportive employment and educational opportunities were addressed to try and reach a ‘critical mass’ of Haitians as per the 2007, USAID report.
The goals are the following:
- to establish ten regional nurseries within Haiti;
- to produce 10,000,000,000 seedlings per year;
- allow for further in‐country testing and research studies to create additional plant varieties as potential income sources;
- provide employment for 3,500 Haitians per year;
- Train 3,000 further Haitians per year in sustainable agriculture and permaculture practices;
- Create new job opportunities by promoting and recognizing endeavors to build
technical capabilities of rural entrepreneurs.
In support and collaboration with members of Signa Haiti are:
- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID);
- Development Alternatives (DAI) ;
- Florida International University (FIU),
College of Arts and Sciences,
Environmental Studies Department;
- The National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG),
the Breadfruit Institute,;
- Innovative Water Technologies (IWT);
- Biodiesel Solutions; Inc.
- The ARN Foundation Trust.