MFK Invests in Local Peanuts

From MFK's Agriculture Program Manager, James M. Blanc
August 31, 2021

The first part of the peanut harvesting season has officially started in Haiti. Despite very little rainfall at the beginning of the planting season, Haitian farmers have worked tirelessly to have good crops. They wasted no time to plant despite the drought. For many of them, it is not a choice but a must. They have to plant, whether they have had enough rainfall or not because they rely entirely on agricultural activities to survive and feed their family. With limited irrigation infrastructure in Haiti, farmers rely on rainfall to water their fields. 

MFK remains a proud partner of peanut smallholders and farmers throughout the country. Through non-profit organizations, for-profit enterprises, and farmer’s co-ops, Meds and Food for Kids sources thousands of metric tons of local peanuts to produce our life-saving peanut butter medicine. This strategy fits well within MFK’s mission to contribute to the economic development of the country. 

From COVID-19 to political instability, to the assassination of the president, to the recent earthquake in the southern part of Haiti, the country has gone through so much during the year 2021. Haitian peanut farmers have shown that there is hope. MFK Agriculture is excited to announce that MFK signed its biggest contract to buy local peanuts from Haitian farmers and local enterprises. MFK is committed to purchasing 138 metric tons (MT) of peanuts from local provided that will be delivered between the months of August 2021 to December 2021. 25 metric tons have already been delivered to MFK in the month of August. MFK partners with the non-profit organization IF Foundation located in Milot, which manages a network of more than 500 peanut farmers in the north to provide good quality peanuts with low aflatoxin levels. MFK also partners with Acceso Haiti which is a for-profit supply chain social enterprise that works with smallholder farmers in order to improve their livelihoods. And finally, MFK partners with a few farmer’s co-ops in the north region and private farms to source good quality peanuts. 

This is extremely important for MFK because it has been years that MFK was unable to purchase more than 50 metric tons of peanuts per year. Several reasons explain this-- from year to year, farmers may have bad seasons due to drought or too much rain, or the quality of the peanuts does not meet MFK’s standard, or the peanuts are highly contaminated with aflatoxin, a toxin that can affect people’s health. The MFK Agriculture department was created with the mission to train Haitian peanut farmers on the proper way to plant peanuts and take care of the peanuts post harvests to avoid contamination. MFK is proud to see that the efforts that the organization has made in the past several years are bearing fruit. 

MFK is excited to be able to locally source more raw materials in the country which in turn benefits the economic development of the country and reduces the number of peanuts MFK has to import yearly. Each week now, a truck full of local peanuts is being delivered at MFK. MFK agronomists will test the peanuts to make sure that they are of the highest quality and then send them to the production team. MFK has already purchased 45 MT of peanuts between January 2021 to June 2021. We believe this additional purchase of 138 MT is very impactful, as agriculture plays a vital role in the country's economy. MFK remains hopeful that with extensive training and adequate support from the government and other NGOs present in the country, local farmers can continue to achieve great success.