One of the days we were out in the Artibonite we took a tour of some of the early plots HTRIP planted 8 years ago. What is so remarkable is to see 30-40' trees where there was once desert rock only a few short years ago. What is really exciting is to think about how when some of these trees are harvested the families who have planted them and cared for them and nurtured them to this point will be able to sell the lumber. For many the financial impact will be like winning the lottery. Its hard not to be excited for our people. In only 2 short years they will begin to see the reward of working with our team as we will begin the commercialization process. All the farming families took a chance in working with us, to farm their land in a very different way, and now they can see the reward in taking that chance growing right before them.
So many of the HTRIP plots are directly next to plots that have no trees and it is hard not to notice the difference. The ones with trees are cool and moist, the soil rich, and the trees are beautiful. Then in the plots where there are no trees, the soil is try and hot with little more than dry weeds. What is so remarkable about the tree sites too is the humidity and moisture. We were visiting at the tail end of the dry season, yet the cool shade of the trees and the rich soil left a moist feeling in the air around the trees.
We visited with Starry Sprenkle who started the program and with two of her techs Mathurin and Shellon. The families were so excited to see Starry since it had been a while since she personally had returned. They rushed up to see her and tell her all about the progress. In the tenth year of working with HTRIP families can start to harvest the trees they planted and sell them for lumber. They will not cut all the trees at once. Some they will leave in the ground to yield a higher value, but some of the trees can be sold which will make huge economic impacts on the households.
Part of the HTRIP strategy is to help our farmers yield the highest value for their lumber products and to help them get them to market. We are currently developing strategies for this action including obtaining a mobile mill and determining where lumber will get the highest value. Of course for every tree that is cut more new ones will be planted in their place repeating the cycle.