HAITI* (19 February)
The political situation in the country continues to deteriorate. The escalation of violence in recent weeks has resulted in loss of life in several areas and is disrupting all economic and trade activities. In the Northern Department, the civil unrest has worsened an already difficult food situation following heavy rains and floods at the end of December 2003 which seriously damaged housing, crops, livestock and food reserves. The international community is facing serious problems in delivering food in the flood-affected areas, as well as in the drought-prone departments of the North-West and Central Plateau, where malnutrition is an endemic problem. This is mainly due to the increasing insecurity and the closure of roads due to the political unrest. If normal delivery of food assistance does not resume in the next few weeks, the food security level of about 270 000 people is likely to be threatened by a major food crisis.
Harvesting of 2003/04 second season cereal crop is about to be completed, while planting of the 2004 first season paddy crop has recently started. The 2003 aggregate maize and sorghumoutputs are expected to be average at 200 000 tonnes and about 100 000 tonnes respectively. Wheat imports in 2003/04 marketing year (July/June) are forecast around the previous year’s level of 295 000 tonnes, while those of rice are anticipated at 260 000 tonnes.