SLASH-AND-BURN FIRE – accidently scorches 30 acres in Perou

Slash-and-burn agriculture is a method of farming that involves cutting down all the vegetation and burning it.  This clears the land for planting and the nutrient-rich ash improves the soil fertility.  However, after a few years the soil is depleted and the field must be left to regrow slowly, while the farmer moves to a new area to slash-and-burn.

Here Aneus Saint Jusmar, an Agricultural Technician from Grepen Center, assesses the damage done to over 30 acres of gardens in Perou after a slash-and-burn fire got out of control and burned 1,835 trees!

Besides the danger of out-of-control burns, slash-and-burn agriculture can result in deforestation, nutrient loss, soil erosion, and a loss of biodiversity.

BUT, there are other farming methods and technologies being taught and promoted by the Grepen Center and projects of the RJM Haiti Mission.

This Haiti Mission Newsletter highlights vital rainwater harvesting projects, and the Seed Bank program spurred by irrigation from rainwater cisterns. This is a fulfillment of Isaiah 55:1,10-11:

“Listen … everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! … the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and … water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater ….”


When the rains don’t come at the right time, crops can die.  But with rainwater harvesting using a cistern, there’s irrigation water so crops can be watered at key times!  Women’s lives are improved because they no longer must spend hours traveling long distances to lug water home, no longer washing clothes in the not-too-clean river water, no longer worrying about having sufficient water to cook, wash and clean!

Ferro-cement construction technique uses reinforced mortar applied over a metal mesh resulting in a cistern that can be built relatively quicky, with good strength and which is resistant to impact, earthquake, fire and corrosion.

The ferro-cement technique is labor-intensive but can be learned fairly quickly, which allows people to supply their own labor for their projects.


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