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Agriculture and Food Security

Background Information

For several decades, Haiti has faced significant food insecurity and nutritional challenges. Chronically high levels of poverty, coupled with soil erosion, declining agricultural productivity, and high population growth, combine to make obtaining adequate food a daily struggle for many Haitians. It is estimated that, in some departments of the country, up to 30 percent of children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Although more than 50 percent of Haitians work in agriculture, up to half of Haiti’s food is imported.

USG Strategy

Food security is a priority sector of the U.S. Government’s development strategy in Haiti. The U.S. Government’s global Feed the Future initiative is supporting the Government of Haiti’s priorities and working to ensure sustainable growth in the agricultural sector. The U.S. Government and its implementing partners are working with scientists to introduce Haitian farmers to new techniques and technologies, strengthen agricultural infrastructure across the entire value chain, and attract investments from private businesses. The overall aim is to increase crop yields and income for more than 100,000 farmer households. This investment will also improve food security and nutritional status for the general population. To protect farmers’ investments in the plains and promote sustainable farming practices, the U.S. Government is collaborating with the Government of Haiti and farmer associations on watershed management. A new approach focuses on planting valuable fruit trees together with ground cover, treating ravines, and introducing greenhouses to generate additional income for farmers. Additionally, the U.S. Government is helping to strengthen agricultural markets by rehabilitating rural roads, reducing post-harvest losses, providing market information, and facilitating public private partnerships.

As it works to help strengthen the agricultural sector, the U.S. Government is collaborating with the Government of Haiti to build the resilience of food insecure households. This approach centers on using nutrition-focused safety net programming that includes interventions aimed at preventing malnutrition in children under two, as well as the implementation of a national system of food vouchers for the most vulnerable households. For example, as of September 2014, the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Food for Peace has provided $12.6 million in aid to address the food security crisis in the North West and West Departments of Haiti. This funding will provide affected communities with food vouchers, food aid, and medical screenings, and will supply 20,000 affected farming families with seeds and planting material for major food crops. Additionally, this programming aims to create and strengthen a system of social funds to help communities cope with emergency situations and create a community-based self-insurance system.

Accomplishments

Feed the Future activities are promoting agricultural production, natural resource management, and a modern post-harvest and marketing system. Food for Peace programs target the most food insecure and seek to reduce vulnerability and improve household resilience. Together, the Feed the Future and Title II-funded activities have accomplished the following:

  • Reached 11,581 pregnant and lactating mothers and 8,550 infants through the Mother and Child Health and Nutrition programs, which aim to prevent malnutrition in children under two; provided food rations to 9,155 children (up to 19 years of age) suffering from malnutrition through the Mother and Child Health and Nutrition program.
  • Launched the Kore Lavi project, which provides support to the Government of Haiti for the development of a national safety net program, providing food vouchers to the most vulnerable households.
  • Provided access to local and nutritious foods for 8,317 extremely vulnerable households through the Kore Lavi project.
  • Provided short-term employment to 14,500 families who participated in projects focused on stabilizing watersheds through the establishment of soil and water conservation structures and improving farm-to-market roads.
  • Provided 48,576 students in 131 schools with one hot meal a day through Food for Education activities.
  • Provided technical assistance to improve home gardens, increase crop production using improved seeds, multiply seeds, establish seedling nurseries, plant trees, construct soil and water conservation structures, and strengthen the efficiency of irrigation systems.
  • Facilitated access by more than 4,000 farmers to high-yielding, drought-resistant, and short-cycle crop varieties to improve resiliency and yields.
  • Helped 9,500 fishermen, goat herders, artisans, poor farmers, and female heads-of-households to improve production, build business expertise, increase access to credit, and improve market linkages through training and other support.
  • Introduced improved seeds, fertilizer, and technologies to more than 70,000 farmers; these increased rice yields by 141 percent, corn yields by 413 percent, bean yields by 100 percent, and plantain yields by 56 percent in 2014 over the base year of 2009.
  • Increased the total sales by farmers supported through Feed the Future West from $7 million in 2010 to more than $13 million in 2014.
  • Developed new grafting technique for mangoes. Provided mobile collection centers, sorting tables, and plastic crates for mango harvesting. This increased mango exports by FTFW-supported farmer associations to exporters by 75 percent.
  • Enrolled more than 26,000 farmers, 46 percent of whom are women, in the Haiti Hope Project—a partnership among USAID, the Coca-Cola Company, and the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund, that aims to create opportunities for at least 25,000 Haitian mango farmers and their families. The project facilitated access to credit for more than 8,000 farmers, with more than $1.8 million disbursed to date. Export sales for participating farmers increased by 175 percent.
  • Increased the income of more than 4,000 cacao growers by at least 25 percent through partnerships with private-sector entities to train farmers in cocoa production. USAID is currently increasing yield by increasing the availability of the “super cacao tree,” which produces four times more pods than the regular tree, through planting and grafting.
  • Trained close to 5,500 farmers in sustainable natural resource management and conservation, including ravine treatment, hillside rehabilitation, and improved technologies that have enhanced the quality of crop output.
  • Trained more than 3,000 master farmers since the inception of the Feed the Future project in 2009.

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Last updated: April 03, 2015

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