Agriculture Spotlight: Meet Thomas

From MFK Agriculture Program Manager, James M. Blanc
September 29, 2021

Thomas Baptiste graduated from MFK’s Farmer Training Program in July 2021. Speaking for all participants during the graduation, Mr. Baptiste said: “We learned a lot of new things during the program, and there are things that we used to do that we will never do the same way again.” 

Mr. Baptiste is 67 years old and has been doing farming activities since he was 19. “I have to say that farming is a family thing, I was born and raised in the countryside, growing up seeing my parents doing the same activities to feed me and my siblings,” he said. 

Mr. Baptiste is from a small community in the area of Ouanaminthe, right on the border of the Dominican Republic, called Savane Longue. Savane Longue is home to less than 10,000 people, with agriculture as the main economic activity in the area, it is a beautiful small community located in the northeast region of Haiti. Mr. Baptiste has lived there for his whole life, where he also raised his 5 children (all boys) with his wife. “Here in Savane Longue, we cultivate different crops such as plantain, sugar cane, cassava roots, beans, sweet potatoes but peanuts remain the crops we get much revenue from,” Mr. Baptiste said.  “I raised all five of my children with money generated from farming activities, farming is my life,” he added. 

With all the hard work Mr. Baptiste has put into farming throughout his life, he’s proud to see that work ethic continue with his children becoming successful in adulthood; one is a lawyer, the second is a sociologist, the third and fourth are professors, and the last is a farmer. Mr. Baptiste sometimes worries that as he’s getting older and may no longer be able to work like he used to do, but he is relieved that he’s leaving a good generation behind. 

MFK is proud to partner with farmers like Thomas. Mr. Baptiste is part of the MFK Farmer Network and has been providing good-quality peanuts directly to MFK. He is also a participant of MFK’s Champion Program, which is an individualized educational and advising program. Participants received additional training, one-on-one advising at their fields, and in-kind financial support to use for farm improvement.

MFK’s mission to support the vulnerable in Haiti remains the same. MFK continues to seek to improve its agriculture investment strategy in Haiti in order to improve farmer livelihoods. MFK will always support farmers to increase yields of low-aflatoxin peanuts and create capacity for smallholder farmers to meet market regulations.