In early 2013, USDA’s Economic Research Service hosted nine staff from Haiti’s Ministry of Agriculture under the Cochran Fellowship Program. This visit was part of an ongoing Feed the Future program to strengthen the capacity of Haitian institutions to collect and analyze agricultural statistics and market information. The availability of accurate and timely data on agricultural production, trade and prices is critical to the efficient functioning of private markets and to the ability of government officials and international donors to get an accurate measure of Haiti’s food security situation and gauge the effectiveness of investments aimed at improving food availability and distribution.
During their visit, members of the delegation were trained to use a model that will help policymakers examine the impact of potential new agricultural policies on Haiti’s long-term national food security. The delegation members also received training in market outlook analysis, enabling them to provide a short-term forecast of supply, demand and prices.
The training focused on rice, which is a strategic commodity for Haiti’s food security. Members of the delegation traveled to Arkansas for a field visit with representatives of the U.S. rice industry, observing firsthand how USDA interacts with agribusinesses and how the private sector uses data and analysis from USDA to improve production.
Additional Feed the Future training sessions for Haitian government officials are planned for 2013 and 2014.