Fritznel Octave, Radio Voice of the Far West, Port-de-Paix, Haiti.
As demonstrated by church leaders in the Parish of St. Mary, 52 kms from the city of Kingston, Capital of Jamaica, as well as on the Central Plateau, 137 kms from Port-au-prince, Capital of Haiti, religious congregations can collaborate with peasants in the Caribbean to help them change their conditions of living.
Seven years ago, Jesuit Fathers from Canada established an agricultural cooperative system in the Parish of St. Mary. Their goal was to help the peasants of the region organize themselves in order to improve their living conditions. The system is composed of 4 cooperatives: Long Road Cooperative, Belfield Cooperative, Fort George Cooperative and Group # 41 located in the community of Annotto Bay.
Before 1991, peasants in St. Mary used to be exploited by retailers. Moreover, they generally did not have the means needed to produce the way they should. They have always been confronted with a lack of financial support. Further, irrigation is needed to increase their level of production. Now things are getting better. The efforts of the Jesuit Fathers in St. Mary, along with support from the Canadian Church allow most of the peasants plowing the soil to take a deep breath.
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