An Economic Analysis of the Maissade, Haiti, Integrated Watershed Management Project

An economic analysis was conducted of the Maissade Integrated Watershed Management Project in Haiti. This project, implemented by the Save the Children Federation, differs from conventional watershed management projects by investing heavily in the development of peasant organizations in order to gain voluntary and sustained adoption of soil conservation, forestry and community development innovations. Conventional projects have relied on monetary and commodity incentives in order to encourage technique adoption, and are widely viewed to have failed to achieve sustained watershed management. The goal of the economic analysis was to determine if a project representative of the new, participatory approach was economically efficient from donor and peasant perspectives. The aggregate project has a NPV of $336,600 at a 12% discount rate, a benefit-cost ratio of 1.5 and an economic rate of return of 19%. Analyzed separately, the hillside soil conservation component is economically efficient at the project level while the other components (forestry, ravine treatment and group investment) are not. Project value is most sensitive to changes in project outlay inputs and hillside treatment benefits. Both the aggregate project and all separate project components are economically efficient from the perspective of project participants, and all but the group investment component have internal rates of return exceeding 200%. Benefit-cost ratios vary from 2.5 to 30 for participation in the different project components. Investment in hillside soil conservation treatment yielded what was by far the greatest return. This analysis demonstrates that watershed management projects in Haiti which utilize peasant organization approaches can be economically efficient.

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