Increasing climate resilience: how Konpòs Lakay helps agriculture producers during drought
Haiti is currently ranked third in the Global Climate Risk Index as being particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Climate change impacts Haiti in a number of ways: increases in the intensity and frequency of hurricanes, flooding, landslides due to soil erosion, and also drought brought about by erratic rainfall patterns, which is compounded by a lack of water management systems. Drought can be particularly devastating to agriculture production, but also contributes to lack of food security and malnourishment. SOIL’s regenerative sanitation solution seeks to not only offer better sanitation options for vulnerable urban communities, but to help build resilient systems that protect Haiti’s vulnerable ecosystem and bolster food production using Konpòs Lakay, our organic compost product.
In early October SOIL received a visit from the Ministry of Environment's (MoE) National Bureau for Environmental Evaluations team as part of a routine environmental audit to evaluate our compost and waste treatment facility. As part of this visit, the MoE team was very interested in seeing the impact of our compost (Konpòs Lakay) on crop production, particularly given that many parts of Haiti have experienced irregular and below average rainfall over the course of this year, resulting in below average harvests.
SOIL took the MoE team on a tour of two client gardens in the rural countryside, first visiting Pilèt, a small village in the hills behind Trou du Nord. SOIL’s client was using Konpòs Lakay on their family land, and had planted a mix of banana trees and coffee plants. While the plants were below average in size, the Pilèt area had not received a single drop of rain for seven months when the team visited, and the client also does not have an irrigation system, so relies on rainfall to water his crops. Prior to using Konpòs Lakay on his soil, three months of drought were enough to kill all of the client’s plants and trees, but now that he uses SOIL’s compost, his garden stays healthy even when the climate conditions are as harsh as seven months of drought. By improving soil water retention, Konpòs Lakay helps farmers face increasingly frequent (and long-lasting) drought events, improving resilience in the face of climate change.
The second client the team visited had an urban garden near the airport in Cap-Haitien, and grows banana trees, papaya trees, and okra plants. The client was pleased with the compost, and told our team that, thanks to Konpòs Lakay, his yield has increased and he also notices that in times of drought, his garden is now a lot more resistant.
We love to see the impact SOIL’s compost has on crop production, soil health, and overall resilience to changes in the climate. We recognize that loss of a harvest due to changing weather patterns and more extreme periods of heat and drought has very deep impacts for farmers and producers – it can mean losing revenue for a year, an inability to harvest seeds from healthy crops for next year’s season, and ultimately suffering from food insecurity. We are dedicated to creating compost that can both help protect Haiti from waterborne illness and support healthier and more resilient soils that can help Haitian farmers avoid the negative impacts of droughts and other climate events. The SOIL team will continue working to find and deliver holistic solutions that will help ensure a greener and more resilient future for Haiti.