Fast Facts on the U.S. Government's Work in Haiti: Food Security
Even before the January 12, 2010, earthquake, Haiti faced significant challenges to food security. Declining agricultural productivity 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.
Food security is one of the four priority sectors of U.S. Government development investment in Haiti. The U.S. Government’s global Feed the Future initiative is supporting the Government of Haiti’s priorities, working to ensure sustainable growth in the agricultural sector in fertile plains. The U.S. Government 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. The overall aim is to improve livelihoods through increased income for more than 100,000 farmer households. 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.
Hurricane Sandy Response
In October 2012, the outer rain bands of Hurricane Sandy caused significant rainfall, flooding, and mudslides in southern Haiti. The Government of Haiti declared a state of emergency and requested U.S. Government assistance, specifically for agricultural inputs, shelter, and replacement of non-food items in the south. Accordingly, the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti issued a disaster declaration for the effects of Hurricane Sandy in Haiti. The cumulative effect of a drought, Tropical Storm Isaac, and Hurricane Sandy has been devastating, generating significant losses in agriculture production throughout the country for 2012. So far, the U.S. Government is providing emergency response support totaling almost $20 million in commodities, food security assistance, and help to repair damaged agriculture infrastructure in Haiti. In addition to the emergency response efforts that are assisting the agricultural sector, the U.S. Government has ongoing agricultural programs funded though Feed the Future that are being implemented in the Port-au-Prince and St. Marc corridors. For example, Feed the Future recently launched a $1 million bean planting season campaign, which will provide farmers with technical assistance, seeds, and other inputs.
Despite these natural disasters, the U.S. Government has made significant accomplishments in ensuring the food security of the Haitian people. Since the earthquake, U.S. Government assistance has:
- Increased the total sales of farmers supported by Feed the Future West from $4.8 million to $12.2 million.
- Introduced improved seeds, fertilizer, and technologies to more than 13,000 farmers; these have increased rice yields by 129 percent, corn yields by 341 percent, and bean yields by 100 percent, in 2012.
- In 2011, trained more than 1,200 people in natural resource management and/or biodiversity conservation, including soil conservation, tree nurseries, and hillside production. More than 4,000 additional hectares of farmland are now under improved natural resource management.
- Nearly 13,000 farmers, more than 40 percent of whom are women, have enrolled in the Haiti Hope project. This program is a partnership among USAID, The Coca-Cola Company, the Multilateral Investment Fund, and TechnoServe that aims to create opportunities for 25,000 Haitian mango farmers and their families.
- Graduated 850 people from a master farmers program during 2012; 27 percent of graduates were women.
- Increased the 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 25 percent.
- Increased economic benefits derived from sustainable natural resource management and conservation, benefitting nearly 1,200 people through ravine treatment, hillside rehabilitation, and improved technologies that have enhanced the quality of crop output.