New FAO initiative aims to lend Haitian schoolchildren a hand.
12 March 2010, Rome - FAO is asking people to lend a hand to children in Haiti by donating a fruit tree that they can plant in school yards across the country.
The UN food agency's Director-General, Jacques Diouf, will launch the "Fruit Trees for Haiti" initiative at a symbolic tree-planting at a school in the town of Croix des Bouquets, outside of Port-au-Prince, which while untouched by the earthquake is now playing host to tens of thousands of refugees from the capital.
The FAO programme aims to provide teachers with a hands-on education tool for children in a country that suffers from some of the worst rates of deforestation in the world. Fruit trees were chosen because, once fully grown, they will also help improve nutrition.
Just a $5 donation to the initiative buys an avocado or mango tree for a Haitian school garden, and covers fertilizer and other inputs as well as educational material.
Diouf is on a three day mission to Haiti to raise awareness about the need for international support to agriculture in the Caribbean country that is still reeling from the January 12 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people.
The "Fruit Trees for Haiti" initiative builds on FAO's experience in rolling out school gardens in developing countries. Buildings surrounded by trees are also better protected from the flooding that can occur in the Haitian rainy season.
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