In partnership with a local non-governmental organization, the Smallholder Farmers Alliance, the clothing company supports an agroforestry program to train Haitian farmers to improve crop yields and has planted 2.2 million trees along the way. According to Forbes.com, An additional 1 million trees will be planted this year as well as in 2014 and 2015.
The project will help improve the environmental, economic and social conditions in the Gonaives region. Timberland and Smallholder Farmers Alliance are helping local farmers learn how to improve crop yields, develop eight community tree nurseries and support agricultural training centers in the region.
According to the press release, the benefits of planting the trees have already been seen:
The Smallholder Farmers Alliance engaged a group of 2,000 small-scale farmers in the rural area near Gonaives, Haiti, and transformed the group into a for-profit agroforestry cooperative. After just three years of investment, the cooperative continues as a farmer-managed, self-financed operation. This innovation in “exit strategy aid,” which sets a time limit on external funding, tackles a key challenge faced by corporate organizations when getting involved in sustainability or disaster relief projects on the ground in developing nations.
The farmers volunteer their time to manage the tree nurseries and plant trees in return for agricultural services that result in increased crop yields of between 40 and 50 percent. These services provide high yield seed, training in crop management, in-field technical support and the good quality tools needed to produce higher yields of sorghum, beans, corn and other food items. Farmers sell their crops individually, but the cooperative supports them by paying for these continued services with the sale of excess trees from the farmer-run tree nurseries.