LTRA-6: A CAPS program for the Central Plateau of Haiti

Principal investigator

Thomas Thompson, Professor and Department Head, Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech

Research team

  • M.M. Alley, W.G. Wysor Professor of Agriculture, Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
  • Gregory S. Amacher, Julian N. Cheatham professor of forestry, Department of Forestry, Virginia Tech
  • James R. McKenna, professor and interim head, Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
  • Katy M. Rainey, assistant professor and bean breeder, Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
  • Rick Rudd, interim associate dean of extension, head of agricultural and extension education, Virginia Tech
  • Wade Thomason, assistant professor and grains specialist, Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech
  • Robert J. Badio, ministry of agriculture and national resources, Damien, Haiti
  • Jacques Volcius, director, Caritas/Hinche, Haiti
  • Augustin Guedry, agronomist, Caritas/Hinche
  • Gillaine Warne, director, Zanmi Agrikol
  • Larose Deus, agronomist, Zanmi Agrikol, Haiti
  • Stenio Louis-Jeune, agronomist, Zanmi Agrikol
  • Fereste Sonneus, agronomist, Zanmi Agrikol


After decades of violent conflict and political upheaval, Haiti’s agricultural sector is unable to produce enough food for the nation’s population of nearly 9 million. Low input-low output agriculture predominates, generally on severely degraded mountainous and/or deforested land that is susceptible to natural disasters such as flooding and mudslides. Productivity is low, and hunger is common, especially in rural areas. As a consequence, Haiti depends on food aid and must use its scarce currency to import large quantities of agricultural commodities and products.

The goal of this project is to reduce food insecurity for small-scale farmers in the Central Plateau of Haiti. The three main objectives are to assess the adaptability of existing farm and livelihood practices for transformation into conservation agricultural production systems (CAPS), to improve crop and livestock production through development of CAPS, and to increase the capacity of small-scale farmers to adapt and improve CAPS. These objectives will be achieved through a collaborative effort of Haiti's Ministry of Agriculture and the State University of Haiti's Faculty of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine (FAMV) with non-governmental organizations Zanmi Agrikol and Caritas/Hinche. Research will be done at three sites: Corporant, Boucan Carré, and Maïssade. Zanmi Agrikol and Caritas will operate research and demonstration farms and work with local farmers to develop locally adapted CAPS. Central to this effort will be the implementation of "best bet" options to improve water productivity, soil quality and fertility, soil organic matter; and to develop more productive crop rotations. The expected results are to raise farm incomes for targeted households and to increase the supply and quality of adapted bean seed available in the market.

Besides transforming the farming system to be more productive and sustainable, the project aims to strengthen agricultural education, service, and market institutions by training Haitians to fill key positions. SANREM activities will be a model for linking Haiti's agricultural university and ministry with organizations in the farming community.