Supporting the diversification of agricultural sectors to reinforce food security in Haiti

Report
from ACTED
Published on 16 Oct 2019 View Original

With a particularly high climate risk index, Haiti is very often in the top 5 countries most affected by extreme weather events.

These cyclic climatic shocks pose a serious threat to the country's food security. Since 2014, Haiti has been affected almost every year by droughts and irregular rainfall. Haiti is also the fourth country most affected by extreme weather events in the past 20 years, according to the 2019 World Climate Risk Index (Germanwatch).

In 2019, the country's food situation deteriorated further, with 2.6 million people in need of food assistance.

ACTED is present in Haiti since 2006 to respond to disasters and chronic crisis situations. The NGO is now seeking to develop agro-pastoral activities in the South and Grand’Anse departments to promote the diversification of agricultural sectors in order to improve food security.

A tense agricultural and economic situation

In spring 2019, severe droughts put a strangle hold on Haiti’s harvests. Haitians count on these seasonal harvests for 50% of their annual production.

In addition, climatic events such also have long-term consequences, gradually degrading soils overtime and increasing the likelihood of future food insecurity, especially in the countryside.

In addition, the country’s economic situation has also deteriorated, causing high inflation.

The cost of the average food basket increased by about 34% between June 2018 and June 2019. Haitian households are forced to reduce their food consumption, and adopt negative coping strategies (e. g. reduce the number of meals per day, reduce the nutritional quality of food).

Food is difficult to access for its price and availability. In addition, socio-political crises are disrupting imports, which make up 44% of food stocks in Haiti.

The 2019 edition of the Global Hunger Index (GHI) contains a concerning case study on Haiti, suggesting that major action is needed to improve the availability and consumption of a wider range of foods on the island. Many Haitians suffer from deficiencies that can lead to serious health problems.

In addition, in 2019, Haiti’s economy experienced continuing price inflation, slowly constricting incomes and adding fuel to the fire of ongoing social unrest. Ongoing protests stem from a frustration at enduring poverty rates, scarcity of basic goods and corruption. The social unrest has the knock on effect of restricting access to food markets due to the insecurity in some areas. In addition, protests and strikes interrupt the processing of food imports which make up 44% of food stocks.

Strengthening the livelihoods of the most vulnerable

ACTED aims at providing structural responses to recurrent food crises by investing in livelihoods and income-generating activities. In particular, the NGO supports the development of income-generating activities in the agriculture, livestock and fisheries sectors. These interventions promote access to income, and thus contribute to increasing the resilience of the most vulnerable to shocks. It also allows to strengthen and diversify local cultures to better meet the food needs locally.

ACTED also seeks to strengthen access to savings and microcredit solutions by working with Village Savings and Credit Associations (AVEC), which help to strengthen the development of market gardening, fishing and livestock activities, while strengthening the productive capital of households.

In parallel, ACTED involves vulnerable communities in cash-for-work activities, particularly for the construction and rehabilitation of essential infrastructure.

All these activities allow the communities involved to have access to income, strengthen their situation and have a budget dedicated to food.