Centro de inversiones de la FAO

Launch of agriculture resilience project tackles hunger in Haiti

Around 375 000 Haitians are set to benefit from a new agriculture resilience-building project to target the escalating food crisis, through investments in climate-smart technologies, rural livelihoods and infrastructure regeneration.

A cohort of 75 000 farmers will be supported through the newly launched USD 102 million Emergency Resilient Agriculture for Food Security Project (PARSA), funded by the World Bank, developed in collaboration with FAO’s Investment Centre’s technical support.

“Haitian farmers are amongst the most vulnerable to climate change, extreme weather events and natural hazards,” said Roble Sabrie, Economist, FAO Investment Centre. “This urgently needed investment will advance climate- and nutrition-smart agricultural production, promote food security and help to combat widespread hunger.”

Investing in farmers

The project will directly benefit thousands of farming households in the areas of Sud, Grand'Anse, Les Nippes and Centre, which were most affected by a devastating earthquake in August 2021.

When the 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck, more than 130 000 homes were destroyed or damaged, alongside vital infrastructure, displacing 39 000 people.

"The 2021 earthquake caused significant damage to the southern region, and thousands of farmers lost productive assets and access to markets. This new investment program will promote inclusive economic growth," said Laurent Msellati, World Bank Country Manager for Haiti.

Rural households are going hungry

Malnutrition and hunger are rife in Haitian communities, with almost half the population – 4.4 million Haitians – facing acute food insecurity. Soaring staple food prices, socio-political unrest, deteriorating food security conditions, and declines in agricultural production have drastically reduced access to nutritious food.

The vast majority of extremely poor households are concentrated in rural areas, where 75 percent of people live in poverty. Haiti remains one of the poorest countries in the world.

Building resilience

The new project will build on the ongoing response from the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Food Programme (WFP) and FAO, to provide urgent relief to the most vulnerable households through food aid and monetary transfers.

An ambitious public works program to promote food security is being launched, under the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR). The goal is to regenerate the agricultural sector by reconstructing key infrastructure which was destroyed by the earthquake – such as irrigation and hydraulic systems and equipment, as well as rural roads. It is expected that this will generate employment, boost household income and stimulate the rural economy. Opportunities will be created through this program in auxiliary activities, such as childcare and catering, for people who are unable to undertake construction work.

Financing is earmarked for community-level soil and water conservation measures – including irrigation canals, terracing and vegetative cover – to support climate resilience, increase local production of nutritious agrifood and combat child malnutrition.

Smallholder farmers will be encouraged to access training schemes, enabling them to learn and implement climate-smart and nutrition-smart agricultural production methods. The ultimate goal is to improve post-harvest management practices and support climate and disaster resilient backyard food production.

Rural women in Haiti play a prominent role in agricultural production and sales. Investment initiatives will focus on empowering women, enhancing their access to markets, ensuring inclusive provision of technical and financial services, and delivering opportunities for training.

Tackling the food crisis strategically

FAO's office in Haiti has developed a strategy to improve coordination between humanitarian aid and the agriculture sector, with the goal to ensure a more effective response to the ongoing food crisis.

Moving forward, this project will help the Government of Haiti to develop a comprehensive food security plan, focusing on improving nutrition amongst the most vulnerable communities.

Photo credit © FAO/Luca Tommasini