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Diouf calls for G-8 funds for Haiti

Quake-hit nation candidate for some of $20 billion promised for agriculture

Photo: ©FAO
16 March 2010, Santo Domingo – FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf has called for some of the $20 billion pledged for farmers in poor countries promised by the G-8 leaders in Italy last July to go to fund an integrated rural development programme in Haiti.

The head of the UN food and agriculture agency was speaking at the invitation of the United States at a special session on agriculture of the Technical Preparatory Conference for Haiti hosted by the Government of the Dominican Republic in Santo Domingo.
 
FAO, in close collaboration with the Haitian government, has prepared a $721 million investment blueprint for the agricultural sector comprising three tracks: development of rural areas, production and development of distribution channels and agricultural services and institutional support.

Diouf said that taking into account the criteria and commitments made at the l’Aquila summit last year, “Haiti could be considered one of the recipient countries” of the G8 funds.  

“It is not a question of creating new organizations or institutions. Since the beginning, the Minister for Agriculture has competently and efficiently led operations to revive production and rehabilitate the agricultural infrastructure,” said Diouf. 

“What we need before anything else is a programme document agreed by the beneficiary country and the donor countries.”

The Santo Domingo  meeting, attended by top officals from 28 Latin American and Caribbean countries, is designed to prepare the way for the Donor Conference on Haiti in New York on March 31.

Diouf was speaking on his way back from a trip to Haiti where he met with President René Préval and other senior government officials, including Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive and Minister of Agriculture Joanas Gué.

All three Haitian leaders will address the conference in Santo Domingo tomorrow.  The Government of the Dominican Republic and the Government of Haiti are co-chairing the meetings in Santo Domingo which have been organized with the support of the World Bank and of the Canadian International Development Agency.

More than half the Haitian population lived in rural areas before the earthquake. Agriculture accounts for 27 percent of Haiti’s economic output.