Sirona has over 1,000 farmers enrolled in our Jatropha Program. These farmers receive free jatropha saplings to plant (2 meters x 2 meters) in and amongst their crops. Jatropha seeds are harvested from the trees and they are then crushed to extract an oil that, once filtered, is a drop-in replacement for diesel fuel. A by-product of crushing process is a seedcake that can be pressed into briquettes that burn cleaner than traditional charcoal. The value of a jatropha tree keeps it safe and in the ground, and every tree planted helps Haiti's deforestation issue.
Our farmers sometimes need assistance to expand the amount of land under production. Sirona makes "loans" of $50 to 10 farmers per year that are selected by community leaders. These farmers are then able to extend their land and grow more food. Rather than repay Sirona in cash, the community oversees repayment of the loan in food to the local school and/or community center. Pictured above and b elow are happy children enjoying the food provided by local jatropha farmers.
Sirona has worked with and supported farmers since we started working in Haiti. We have also endeavored to feed children. This successful program accomplishes both and we are proud to have completed the third year of loans to our farmers.