If you dig back into this blog you will see that the SunBlazer solar program has received all of the attention for some time. That is only one of our programs though, and the other does so well that I fail to blog about it,which is a shortcoming on my part.
Sirona places the power to create, use and sell alternative energy into the hands of the poorest people. We achieve many things with this mission, we provide light, improve lives, improve livelihoods, empower, and improve the environment locally and globally. Our Jatropha Program allows small farmers who work in co-ops, or in Haiti, Kombit farmers, to receive free seedlings and in turn, Sirona purchases these seeds to process into two resources: clean fuel (Jatropha oil is a drop in replacement for diesel fuel) and an alternative charcoal.
As with any agricultural program, it takes time to reach milestones. Sirona has just surpassed the planting of over 250,000 trees that will each bear enough seed to produce a gallon of clean fuel a year. The residue will be used as nitrate rich fertilizer or compressed into briquettes to replace charcoal.
Haitians cook with charcoal. It is a way of life, but the charcoal trade is destroying the fragile island. Deforestation is arguably Haiti's largest issue. We are working to encourage planting, rather than cutting down trees, and if we can stabilize these hillsides and replenish the soil, the indigenous trees will return in time. This program creates the opportunities for the charcoal trade to shift to tree planting rather than cutting.
We could not have reached this milestone without the support of our donors, and we especially wish to highlight the support we have received from JDT Foundation. Last fall they supported the planting of 50,000 seedlings and committed to 50,000 more this year. JDT Foundation is a Haitian organization that saw Jatropha's potential and elected to support our endeavor rather than begin one of their own. We are immensely appreciative of this support and look forward to continuing our program. Pressing oil will begin in the coming months, seeds are being bought today to give us what we need when we are ready to press. Organizations are now coming to us seeking contracts to purchase the oil. As with everything we have done thus far, that decision will ultimately lie with the farmers.
I am looking at opportunities for Carbon Credit financing, and working to raise funds to continue this worthy program. We are expecting to expand into the north this year working with a new group who has seen the program and hopes to displace the fuel they need for their hospital generator. Many thanks to all who have supported our farmers, they have used your funding to it's fullest potential, and it will change lives for generations. Consider this: the impact of a $100 donation to this program will allow us to plant 1,000 seedlings, each will produce a gallon of fuel per year as well as charcoal. If the value of that is $5 per year, and the trees live for 25 years (typically between 25-45 years) your $100 donation creates $125,000 for the farmers in Haiti. JDT's $5,000 donation will generate $6,250,000 over the life of these trees.
Anytime you can offset in import, particularly fuel, you are making a financial impact in a country. Whenever you can reduce the amount of smoke children are exposed to you are having positive health impact in a country. This program will not change all of Haiti, but for our farming communities it will generate badly needed revenue, empower, and improve lives. Thank you again for your generosity and support.