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The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2012: Haiti

The FAO Component of the Consolidated Appeals 2012: Haiti

Dec 2011

Haiti continues to recover from the catastrophic earthquake of January 2010.

Before the earthquake, communities were already extremely vulnerable, facing a succession of disasters ranging from hurricanes to drought. Although donors and humanitarian agencies have been extremely active in helping the people of Haiti to start rebuilding their lives, much more is needed.

Overall, food insecurity in Haiti remains high in all departments, with particularly alarming levels in the Departments of Artibonite, Nord-Ouest, Sud-Est and Sud.

Challenges facing food security and livelihoods

Almost one out of two people in Haiti’s earthquake-affected areas is food insecure. After the earthquake, the country’s local agricultural economies, which employ 70 percent of the rural population, nearly collapsed. Despite the efforts of local producers, Haiti’s agriculture sector is very fragile and rebuilding it remains a priority.

During the early spring 2011 agricultural campaign, a drought-affected part of northern Haiti, contributing to a decline in major crop yields of over 20 percent. Farmers’ incomes decreased dramatically, which will likely compromise their preparations for the upcoming winter 2011/12 planting season.

In early autumn 2011, heavy rains struck the Sud, Grand’Anse and Nippes Departments. The floods, compounded by rising food prices in local markets, significantly impacted the capacity of 30 000 farming families to produce and access food.

Weakened by recurrent crises, food insecure groups have very low levels of resilience to shocks and are in need of immediate support to prepare for the next planting season. Enabling rural communities to build healthy farming and food systems is key to food security.

Farmers in rural and peri-urban areas are among Haiti’s poorest. They lack access to the basic materials and services needed to enhance food security, such as high-yielding seeds, fertilizers, livestock support, credit and knowledge of improved farming methods.

Women – the main producers of food in Haiti – are central to raising household food security levels. Recovery, however, has been especially difficult for women. For example, gender-based violence – already endemic – has become even more prevalent after the earthquake. FAO’s programmes prioritize women-headed households and encourage policies and strategies that promote gender equality in smallholder agriculture.

FAO response

Increasing access to agricultural inputs and markets is fundamental to improving household food security and nutrition in rural and urban areas of Haiti. FAO’s proposed assistance for 2012 seeks to address the needs of nearly 80 000 families struggling to recover livelihood activities as a result of natural hazards.

With donor funding, FAO will help to restore urban agricultural production – a crucial means to support displaced families living in camps and in areas affected by the earthquake in Ouest Department. Planned interventions combine the provision of quality agricultural inputs – focused on activities, such as gardening, recycling and composting – with training in food preservation techniques and nutrition, as well as support to strengthen marketing capacity.

In response to the 2011 floods and drought, FAO seeks to help severely affected families resume crop and livestock production. Farming activities will focus on facilitating access to seeds and tools for short-cycle crop production (maize, beans, rice and vegetables), coupled with training on improved agriculture and market gardening techniques. Efforts to strengthen livestock production include providing families with animals (e.g. goats, sheep and poultry), basic veterinary care and planting materials for improved pasture and forage production. Training on disaster preparedness measures will help to mitigate the loss of livestock and agricultural production from future shocks.