|Mountains beyond mountains: Challenges and opportunities for managing peanut diseases in Haiti.|
A. M. FULMER (1), R. C. Kemerait (2), T. B. Brenneman (2). (1) University of Georgia, Tifton , GA, U.S.A.; (2) University of Georgia, Tifton, GA, U.S.A.
Haiti has been selected as part of the USAID Feed the Future program to reduce hunger, poverty and malnutrition in developing countries. Plumpy'nut, a peanut-based Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, has demonstrated significant effects in reversing malnourishment. Meds and Foods for Kids (MFK), a non-profit organization, has begun making Plumpy'nut in Haiti. This has created a substantial demand for high quality, locally grown peanuts. However, all production is from smallholder farmers with very limited inputs. Yields are extremely low due to factors affecting soil fertility and defoliating fungi such as <i>Puccinia arachidis</i> and <i>Cercosporidium personatum.</i> Quality is also a problem and aflatoxin contamination from <i>Aspergillus flavus </i>is widespread<i>. </i>Growers generally lack the knowledge and resources needed to combat these issues. Since 2007, researchers from the University of Georgia, in collaboration with MFK, have been actively involved in Haiti. Multiple seminars have been held to equip local agronomists with the principles of peanut production and integrated disease management, and many field trials have been conducted. Results suggest that limited fungicide applications and improved varieties offer low-cost management strategies for improving yields. Recent funding from the USAID-supported Peanut and Mycotoxin Innovation Lab (Project UF-204) will allow for the continuance of extension and research efforts aimed at bettering the lives of those in Haiti.