Between 2018 and the first half of 2019, Haiti experienced a long period of drought due to the El Niño phenomenon. As a result, agricultural production decreased by at least 12 percent compared with the previous year, which was already lower than the general average production rate.
Limited availability of and access to food, reduced incomes, a rise in food prices, an annual inflation rate of 19.5 percent, the depreciation of the Haitian gourde, coupled with socio-political tensions and increased insecurity, have significantly exacerbated populations' vulnerabilities in Haiti, particularly of those living in rural areas, whose livelihoods are solely based on agriculture. According to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), 3.7 million people are currently facing severe acute food insecurity (IPC Phases 3 and 4). If no immediate actions are taken to strengthen the livelihoods of affected populations, this figure could increase to 4.1 million (40 percent of Haiti's population) starting in March 2020.
In order to support Haiti's vulnerable communities, the Government of the Kingdom of Belgium contributed USD 500 000 to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to provide agricultural assistance to 7 500 households (37 500 people) in three municipalities of the North-East department. Specific activities focus on the: distribution of seeds and planting material for the production of climate-resilient crops to 4 500 households (22 500 people), of whom at least 40 percent of women heads of households, in time for the spring agricultural season (March--July 2020); distribution of vegetable seeds and the provision of technical support to 2 500 households (12 500 people), of whom at least 60 percent of women heads of households, for the diversification of food and income sources; capacity building of 500 agropastoral households (2 500 people) in the production and conservation of fodder.
The project aims at mitigating the effects of the socio-economic crisis and drought through the protection and restoration of the livelihoods of vulnerable communities to increase their resilience and self-reliance. It also intends to improve social cohesion and prevent vulnerable people from being recruited by armed groups that are contributing to increased insecurity in Haiti, including in rural areas.