Caribbean network for the development of agroecological horticultural systems
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Launch Seminar in Cuba from the 5th to the 9th of October 2009

The DEVAG Project has been officially launched during a seminar which has gathered all participants together during one week, from the 5th to 9th of October 2009 in La Habana, Cuba. This meeting enabled everyone to acquaint oneself with the project (46 actions), as well as the particular managing rules which will have to be followed by all members during the life of the project.

From the Hortsys Research Unit, Mrs Paula Fernandes, Mr Christian Lavigne, Mr Christian Langlais, Mrs Béatrice Rhino, Mrs Peninna Deberdt, Mrs Odile René-Corail and Mr Vincent Birrien have participated to the seminar as well as Mr Emmanuel Prophète, Mrs Marie Eunide Alphonse et Mr Benoit Faucheux representing the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Gemma Arnau from CIRAD of Guadeloupe and Mr Richard Dick from Ohio State University.

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Presentations of the actions (Olimpia Gomez & Béatrice Rhino) (Photos P. Fernandes)

During this seminar organized by thematically sessions, the participants could exchange with their counterparts and share their knowledge, methodologies and results already acquired during workshops. A half day has also been dedicated to two magisterial conferences opened to all Cuban researchers of the Soil Science matter. Pr Richard Dick(OSU) intervened on “Manipulating microoganisms to optimize ecosystems services” and Dr Rosa Orellana Gallego from INIFAT on “Situation and perspectives of study of the Cuban soils, with emphasis on the red ferralitic soils (ferralsols)”, both of them appreciated from the Researchers’ community and followed by various questions.

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Richard Dick and Rosa Orellana Gallego during their conferences (Photo V. Birrien)

Une visite des installations de deux partenaires cubains (IIFT et IIHLD) a pu être organisée ainsi qu’une visite de terrain chez un producteur « référence nationale » tant en cultures maraichères qu’en production fruitière (photos ci-dessous).

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New conatcts at IIFT for Peninna and Marie Eunide (Photo V. Birrien) Discutions animated close to the Lombricompost bacs (Photo P. Fernandes)
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Young tomato plot on red soil. (Photo P. Fernandes)
Christian and his Haitian colleagues in orchards (Photo V. Birrien)

After this exchanges and visits, this seminar also enabled to define the participants expectations about the future project website, to plan missions and transversal actions (Scientific and professional trainings) as well as meeting representatives of the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture and the new SCAC of the French Embassy of La Habana. These meetings have also enabled the emergence of new projects between partners (ex: Introduction of Matinik sheeps in Haiti between MARNDR and SECI, introduction of new varieties of yams in Cuba between MINAG and Cirad Guadeloupe).

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Members of the project DEVAG – closing picture (Photo Y. Ruizanchez Ortega)

From most of the participants, the organization of the week and the conditions of work were satisfactorily, enabling the exchanges. The experience of the magisterial conferences must be renewed, tackling this time another subject as, for example, the agroecological pest management. Field visits are also an experience to renew and to increase during next seminars. The only negative point is the language which limits for the exchanges. The midterm seminar is planned in November 2011 and will take place in Haiti.


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