Reviving agricultural production in Haiti in the context of multiple crises

Reviving agricultural production in Haiti in the context of multiple crises


In collaboration with Haiti’s Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development, FAO carried out the first of a series of agricultural input distributions to support vulnerable farming families to prepare for the spring season in the context of the current pandemic and humanitarian crisis in the country. Activities took place in May 2020 in the most food-insecure areas under FAO’s emergency response programme thanks to funding from Belgium, the Central Emergency Response Fund and the Organization’s own resources. 

The spring agricultural campaign is the most important for rural households, contributing to over 50 percent of the country’s overall agricultural production. The objective of the intervention is to restore the agricultural production of vulnerable households in order to improve their food security and nutrition, and allow them to generate income to meet their basic needs. In the departments of Nord-Est, Nord-Ouest, Nippes and Grand’Anse, a total of 9 900 households (49 500 people) facing severe acute food insecurity received 134 tonnes of cereal (rice and maize) and pulse (Lima bean, groundnut and pigeon pea) seeds, as well as 7.9 million of sweet potato and cassava cuttings.

Poléron Lafortune, one of the beneficiary farmers in the town of Môle Saint Nicolas, Nord-Ouest department, underlined how the support received allowed him not to miss the agricultural campaign following the long period of drought that decimated his fields and cattle. “We are pleased with the FAO’s timely support, especially since we couldn’t afford to purchase seeds at the local market. We are thankful for these drought-resilient seeds”.

Molmé Luxer, a farmer from the town of Bombardopolis, Nord-Ouest department, also received inputs from FAO and mentioned the difficulties encountered by farmers before the intervention. “I started preparing my plot last April, but I could not plant due to the unavailability of seeds in the local market. When we do manage to find them, they’re often of poor quality. I’m glad to receive these inputs which will allow me to sow quickly.”

In addition to input distribution activities, FAO supports the Government’s efforts to mitigate the spread of
COVID-19 in the country. Mr José Luis Fernández, Representative of FAO in Haiti, believes that the responsibility of reducing the impact of the pandemic must be shared. “We have a duty to help the rural communities we support to protect themselves from the coronavirus. This is why we carry out awareness sessions on distribution sites in order to increase the adoption by beneficiaries of measures and instructions of the Ministry of Public Health and Population.”

Furthermore, during distribution activities FAO also raises awareness on protection from sexual exploitation and sexual abuse among rural communities. “It is unfortunate that in these situations of crisis and distress, certain people exploit the vulnerability of the poorest by exchanging humanitarian aid for sexual favours,” said the FAO Representative in Haiti. “The Organization has a policy of zero tolerance against such practices. This is why, we are raising awareness in order to prevent these abuses and to inform about complaints mechanisms against those suspected of being at fault.”

FAO also ensures that the beneficiary rural communities are well informed of its Accountability to Affected Populations mechanism, which consists in promoting accountability, transparency and the exchange of information between the Organization and beneficiaries reached.