The research presented in this report directly addresses important and unresolved questions stemming from the unexpected fact that Haitians continue to meet approximately 80 percent of their national energy needs through firewood and charcoal production.
Haiti burns over 400,000 tons of charcoal annually (USAID 2011); that amount translates to over 4,000,000 tons of trees destroyed since it takes 10 tons of wood to produce one ton of Haitian charcoal (ESMAP 2007). Regional environmental studies in Haiti, including Ghilardi, et al 2018, have determined that the Haitian charcoal industry has a destructive effect on the trees of Haiti.
Conventional charcoal and firewood are the main source of energy in Haiti. They provide up to 90% of the country’s energy for domestic and industrial use, resulting in severe environmental and health issues. The present study is initiated to better understand the reasons why two promising alternative technologies (improved cookstoves and alternative charcoal briquettes) have experienced low adoption in Haiti.
Haiti is one of the poorest and most severely hunger-stricken countries in the world (GHI 2013). Its contradictions are jarring: although Haiti has the largest relative agrarian population in the Western Hemisphere and relatively less land inequality than the rest of the region (Smucker et al. 2000; Wiens and Sobrado 1998), it is extremely food insecure. Almost 90 percent of the rural population lives below the poverty line (FAO 2014; IFAD 2014), and Haiti relies on food imports for 60 percent of national consumption (OXFAM 2010).
The aim of this study was to perform a rigorous field evaluation of alternative cooking fuel during actual use. Chabon Vet (green charcoal) fuel briquettes are produced by Carbon Roots International (CRI) in Cap Haïtien, Haiti and are made from carbonized agricultural waste, predominantly sugarcane bagasse. During this study Chabon Vet was compared to other commonly used wood-derived fuels (wood charcoal and firewood).
The massive earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010 devastated rural areas as well as urban, destroying crops, farm buildings, equipment, and infrastructure. Indirect effects touched almost every corner of the nation, as 600,000 people migrated to the countryside, increasing pressure on already stretched food and fuel resources. Internal displacement worsened food insecurity, which affected six out of ten people even before the disaster.
A Seed System Security Assessment (SSSA) was carried out in Haiti in May-June 2010. The work assessed the impact of the 12 January 2010 earthquake on households and agricultural livelihoods, including possible changes in assets, land holdings, labor availability, income generation activities, crop profiles and seed use.
Malgré l’abondance des précipitations dans une large part du pays, l’irrigation se justifie en raison de la grande irrégularité des précipitations due a une géographie montagneuse (saison sèche plus ou moins longue et prononcée, apparition d’épisodes secs prolongés durant la saison pluvieuse, et forte intensité des pluies) et à l’exposition aux vents maritimes.
Soil erosion and deforestation are endemic in Haiti due to centuries of agricultural exploitation, first under the colonial plantation system—intensive monocropping of export commodities such as cotton, indigo, tobacco, sugarcane, and coffee—and later by the widespread harvest of timber for export markets and the expansion of peasant subsistence agriculture on marginal sloping land. A growing urban population and an increasing demand for charcoal and fuel wood have further stressed the environment.
Neem (Azadirachta indica Adr. Juss.) is planted in Haiti for its hardiness and multiple purposes of shade, medicinal uses, wood, aesthetics and pest control. A neem trial at Roche Blanche was established in October, 1991 as a collaborative effort of SECID/Auburn University, Agridyne (now Biosys) and Double Harvest.