Even before the January 12, 2010, earthquake, Haiti faced significant challenges to food security. Declining productivity and farm incomes led to malnourishment and urban migration. Prior to the earthquake, 40 percent of households were undernourished and 30 percent of children suffered from chronic malnutrition. While approximately 60 percent of Haitians worked in agriculture, more than 50 percent of the food consumed in Haiti was imported.
Agriculture and food security is one of the four priority sectors of U.S. Government (USG) development investment. The USG’s Feed the Future initiative is supporting the Haitian government’s priorities in agriculture, working to ensure sustainable growth in the agricultural sector in Government of Haiti (GOH)-prioritized fertile plains. The USG is working with farmers, farmer associations, and scientists to introduce new techniques and technologies, strengthen agricultural infrastructure along the whole value chain, and attract investments from private businesses―with an overall aim to improve livelihoods for more than 100,000 farmer households, corresponding to 8-10 percent of the rural population. This investment will not only lead to nutritional improvements in the population, but also improve the lives of farmers benefitting from increased crop yields and incomes.
Despite the challenges, the USG has made significant accomplishments since the earthquake in ensuring the food security of the Haitian people. Since the earthquake, USG assistance has:
Increased agricultural-related income of beneficiary rural households by 76 percent by rehabilitating irrigation systems, rural roads and supporting storage and processing facilities.
Introduced improved seeds, fertilizer, and technologies to more than 9,700 farmers; these have increased rice yields by 64 percent, corn yields by 338 percent, bean crops by 97 percent, and plantain outputs by 21 percent for beneficiary farmers.
Trained more than 30,000 people in natural resource management, including soil conservation, tree nurseries, and hillside production. As a result, 23,000 hectares of farmland are now under improved natural resource management.
Graduated more than 700 people from a master farmers program, approximately 25 percent of whom were women.
Increased income of 5,000 cacao growers by a minimum of 25 percent through partnerships with private sector entities to train farmers in cocoa production.
Provided mobile collection centers, sorting tables, and 6,000 plastic crates for mango harvesting, increasing mango sales by three farmer associations to exporters by more than 65 percent.
Increased economic benefits derived from sustainable natural resource management and conservation, benefitting nearly 150,000 people through ravine treatment, hillside rehabilitation, and improved technologies that have improved the quality of crop output.