The iF Foundation’s Technical Center, located in Coronel, is fully functional and the hub of activity for this rural farming community in northern Haiti. The Center serves as the base for the organization’s operations and the center of all collaboration. The work being accomplished is having a direct impact on local farmers through economic development and vital research. Current economic programming includes a newly implemented farm credit program, a field extension program (iF has two agronomists and four agricultural technicians on staff), a nursery which is producing high value fruit trees and sigatoka-resistant plantains, a compost facility specializing in hot compost and vermiculture, an operational lab to study soil macronutrients, plant nematodes and aflatoxins, and on-going technical training for the farmer beneficiaries.
Zhoucen Feng, has been interning with the iF Foundation since October 2013. She brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to her work in the field including a passion for making a difference. Zhoucen is a Chinese national with a Master’s degree in sustainable agriculture from Cornell. She had a concentration in SRI rice cultivation as part of her graduate work. From October 2013 to December 2013, Zhoucen collected and analyzed harvest data from the first SRI pilot plots and trained iF Foundation technicians on the correct data collection methodology. She also designed and tested a new type of mobile device (cell phone and tablet) based data collection model.
Research is an important component of the iF Foundation’s agricultural program in the Dubre-Coronel-Grison Garde corridor. Current research initiatives include; improved tilling and planting, Djon-djon cultivation, SRI rice (in collaboration with Cornell University), rice mill - optimizing post-harvest processes and milling, high-oleic peanut (in collaboration with Cornell University and Meds and Food for Kids), meteorology ( iF has three weather stations on the ground), yams using mini-setting and variety selection, poultry feed (QPM/moringa to lower production costs) and Soil Fertility Mapping (with USDA NCRS).
The Haitian Pride Breakfast Program is the philanthropic outreach program of the iF Foundation. The program, operating at full capacity, serves breakfast to children at seven primary schools in the area. This totals 3,245 breakfasts per week for children who would otherwise start their day without a nutritious meal. School in Haiti is not free and most families, if they can afford to pay for school, cannot afford to provide a well balanced meal for their child.