Cholera fall-out likely to cause crop losses in Haiti

Cholera fall-out likely to cause crop losses in Haiti

29/12/2010

A significant portion of the rice harvest in northwestern Haiti is likely to be lost because of farmers' fears of cholera contamination, an FAO preliminary assessment indicates. FAO and the Haitian Ministries of Agriculture and Health are engaged in a campaign to provide hygiene information to farmers reluctant to harvest rice during the ongoing cholera emergency in the country.

Many farmers are avoiding the harvest, fearing that the water in the rivers and canals that irrigate their paddies and other fields might be infected. There are also reports of consumers being unwilling to purchase produce from regions directly affected by the cholera outbreak which will further impact agricultural commerce in the area. An FAO assessment team recently noted that some of the deaths in rural areas are not recorded by the authorities and many cases probably result from farming families not having access to the right information.

Since lost crops may impinge on food production, and thus on food security and livelihoods, FAO is now working closely with Haitian authorities and the UN agencies dealing with health and sanitation to give farmers the correct information regarding the precautions to take while working in the fields. FAO and its Agriculture Cluster partners are currently also supporting the assessment on cholera's impact on food security and rural livelihoods, led by the Coordination Nationale de la Sécurité Alimentaire (CNSA).