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Fast Facts on the U.S. Government's Work in Haiti: Food Security

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Fact Sheet
Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator
January 16, 2013


The Challenge

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.

USG Strategy

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.

Accomplishments

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:

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