CHIBAS is a bio-fuels and sustainable agriculture research center in Haiti with a particular interest in promoting the cultivation of Jatropha, a plant already used in Vodoun ceremonies and as a natural fence to protect crops. According to CHIBAS, Jatropha has the potential to advance food and energy security in Haiti while building rural economies. Below is a summary of the newest CHIBA piece on Jatropha's potential in Haiti. You can also find the complete paper (with graphics) on the CHIBAS website.
Earthspark International, formerly InterIntel, is developing a Jatropha economy in Coteaux, Haiti. Known colloquially as Mestiyen, Jatropha has several unique qualities. It grows where other plants will not, can be used as a “living fence” because it is inedible, benefits crop growth by retaining water and providing shelter from winds, and yields large quantities of plant oil. Can Jatropha be profitable for small farmers in Haiti? Earthspark intends to prove that it can.
Haiti Pro is new website for entrepreneurs interested in private sector solutions to Haiti's developmental challenges. Haiti Pro Members can easily share videos of their ideas and efforts. There are already a number of interesting clips on topics including dairy franchising, wood charcoal alternatives, reforestation, and women's groups. Below are summaries of the clips that are in Kreyol and/or French. Consider joining if you are interested in small business development in Haiti.
Copied below is an article published last year in Biodiesel Magazine. It may be worth revisiting given several interesting videos that Haiti Xchange noticed on the Haiti Biodiesel Industry website. The first video concerns a group in Port au Prince that is converting used cooking oil into biofuel. One of the members is using it in Haiti's first biofuel powered truck. Another demonstrates a fully functional bio-stove. Finally, there is a video of a biofuel powered generator. Readers can discuss biofuels in the Haiti Biodiesel Forum. Dialogue is needed given the many unanswered questions concerning the potential of biofuels in Haiti. What is the position of the goverment? How best to coordinate among the grassroots organizations, government ministries, and private sector? What do pilot projects require to be brought to scale? Perhaps the June Jatropha conference that CHIBAS is hosting can shed light on these issues.
We frequently receive inquiries concerning the use of Jatropha as a biofuel in Haiti. So far, cultivation has been limited to a handfull of pilot projects. This blog lists these organizations and summarizes several recent articles on the subject. A previous blog on biodiesel resulted in over 225 comments from people throughout the world interested in Jatropha. If you are interested specifically in jatropha cultivation in Haiti, please post a comment describing your interests. In that way, this blog can become a conversation about tapping the potential of Jatropha for Haiti.
I am neither an agronomist or an energy specialist. But I always have my eyes open for new innovations which could help Haiti achieve either food security or energy independence. Recently, I received an email from The National Algae Association (NAA) annoucing that it would be bringing together Algae oil production companies, algae researchers and "algaeprenuers" together for a conference on June 17th in Woodlands, Texas. The private sector seems to think algae has potential as a biofuel - Chevron, Honeywell, and Boeing all have some involvement in algae businesses. But is it feasible in Haiti?
A colleague sent me a transcript of Congressional testimony by Dr. Johanna Mendelson Forman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies here in Washington DC. The testimony gives an overview of how a biofuel economy could reduce poverty, promote energy independence, and ultimately contribute to stability in Haiti. A transcript is attached to the blog.
Haiti Innovation is proud to be partnering with the Centre for Management Technology in the leadup to the Jatropha World 2008 conference, which will be held in Miami and focus on the potential of Jatropha as a biofuel in Latin America and the Caribbean. We will report before, during, and after the Conference, which we anticipate will help raise awareness and bring together key stakeholders who could make the cultivation and processing of Jatropha in Haiti a reality. Below is further information from CMT about the conference.
Attached is an assessment carried out by the World Bank's Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (EMAP) on Haiti's reliance on wood based charcoal for its energy needs - estimated to be about 70% of total energy usage. Having read the assessment, I feel it raises some sensible interventions even if they do not go far enough. However, the strategy could provide a foundation upon which to build.
The Singapore-based Center for Management Technology has been holding a series of conferences on Jatropha - what it is, what it can do, what it can't do. The next conference will be held in Miami on June 10th - 11th. For those interested in planting, harvesting, and processing the Jatropha plant in Haiti this could be an invaluable networking opportunity.