The Washington-based Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) released a report last week, highlighting a need for the international donor community to refocus its policies on programs that enhance the ability of farming communities to deal with pressing threats to Haitian food security. Currently, about one third of the Haitian population is ‘food insecure’, or lacking a nutritious and calorie-sufficient diet because of inadequate resources with which to purchase or produce food.
Issues surrounding agriculture in Haiti are significant because the sector employs around 60 percent of the Haitian workforce, contributing one-quarter of Haiti’s GDP. Haiti’s farming sector has become more vulnerable due to increasing dependence on export-driven industrial growth, food imports, and neglect of smallholder farmers who all too often suffer from hunger themselves.
The report calls specifically for donors to prioritize natural disaster impact mitigation, promote sustainable agriculture, and increase food security for the nearly 2 million Haitians currently at risk.
Recommendations for policies and programs by the Government of Haiti and international donors:
- Establish programs and policies through extensive consultations with Haitian farming communities.
- Strengthen the ability of Haitian farming communities to produce sustainably grown crops for local markets, including reserves to be used in case of emergencies;
- Prioritize women farmers to maximize the efforts on farming families;
- Prioritize the production of food staples for consumption in Haiti;
- Create jobs in rural areas;
- Help the Government of Haiti tackle the important task of land and agrarian reform in Haiti, including land tenure security for smallholder farmers;
- Allocate financial and human resources to implement and sustain these programs over the long term;
- Make clear that agriculture policy will be carried out with transparency and accountability.
For the full report, click here.