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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 12-April-2017


  1. Uncertain prospects for 2017 cereal production

  2. Cereal imports forecast at high level for 2016/17 marketing year

  3. Prices of cereals remain relatively unchanged in most markets in March, prices in south remain at high level

  4. FAO’s Response to Hurricane Matthew

Uncertain prospects for 2017 cereal production

Planting of the main 2017 cereal season, to be harvested from June, is expected to begin towards the end of April. Weather conditions have been relatively normal as rainfall levels have been about average in most cropping areas of the country, including the main cereal producing Region of Artibonite. However, there is some uncertainty about the ability of farmers to access inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers, particularly in the southwestern departments of Grand’Anse, Sud and Nippes, severely impacted by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. While these departments produced a negligible amount of rice output, they, on average, account from 20 to 25 percent of the national maize production. According to the National Coordination for Food Security , a Governmental agency, farmers in these departments lost significant assets. In most extreme cases, grain stocks put aside for seed have been consumed or sold to meet other immediate needs. Moreover, the probability of an El Niño event during the June-August period, at the end of the vegetative growth period and the beginning of the harvest, has risen above 60 percent in March. FAO’s preliminary forecast assumes an increase in cereal output of only 7 percent in 2017, from last year’s hurricane-reduced level. This forecast assumes that weather will develop normally throughout the season and accounts for the difficulty in accessing necessary inputs.

Cereal imports forecast at high level for 2016/17 marketing year

Cereal import requirements for the 2016/17 marketing year (July/June), which include both commercial imports and food aid, are anticipated slightly below the 2015 record level, but significantly above the country’s five-year average. The high level of imports reflects two years of drought-reduced outputs (2014 and 2015) and the effects of Hurricane Matthew on 2016 production. Imports of maize and rice are anticipated to remain above their five-year average. Commercial wheat imports, by contrast, are anticipated to remain unchanged from the previous year.

Prices for cereals remain relatively unchanged in most markets in March, prices in south remain at high level

Prices of main staples maize meal were stable across the main markets in March. However, in Les Cayes, a reference market for the southern regions affected by the Hurricane, prices of maize meal were 56 percent above their year earlier levels, mainly reflecting the short supply of domestic maize. In Port-au-Prince, maize meal prices were some 9 percent above year-earlier levels as seasonal trends have been strengthened by the increased demand from southern departments.

Prices for imported rice, the country’s main staple, were unchanged in March in the main markets, with the exception of the Jeremie, in the south, where prices increased 7 percent. Relative to price levels a year earlier, only in Port-au-Prince rice prices were significantly above their level from March 2016, reflecting the high demand from the south.

FAO’s Response to Hurricane Matthew

FAO’s rresponse plans to Hurricane Matthew were prepared for two-time horizons of three and 12 months. In line with this plan the following activities were undertaken:

  1. The FAO Office in Haiti and its Emergency Division in Rome mobilized USD 8.1 million between October 2016 and March 2017.

  2. As a response to emergencies, FAO-Haiti distributed for the winter season: (i) 160 tonnes of seeds (beans and peas) to 20 150 households or 100 750 persons; (ii) 6.3 million plant material (plantlets) of sweet potatoes to 16 850 households or 84 250 persons.

  3. For the spring season (January to March 2017), FAO-Haiti distributed: 205 tonnes of agricultural seeds and 10.3 million tonnes of cassava cutting and sweet potatoes to 17 300 households or 86 500 persons; 21 500 farmers received 1 300 kg vegetable seeds and 6 500 of them received agricultural tools. Seed fairs were also organized at the benefit of 2 600 households in Artibonite Department where each household received a voucher of HTG 1 500 for seeds purchases.

  4. From March to June 2017, FAO-Haiti has been implementing some activities of cash-for-work in the South, South East and Grand'Anse departments. More than 2 000 temporary jobs in plant nurseries for the production of 1.8 million seedlings are expected. In addition, 3 670 temporary jobs will be also created by cleaning primary, secondary and tertiary irrigation canals (33 km), agriculture land and watershed.

  5. More than 3 000 fishermen in the South, Grand'Anse and North West departments will receive fishing gear, boat engines and Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD).

  6. Veterinary mobile clinics are being organized for 2 500 livestock households in the South, South East and Grand'Anse departments.