Haiti Seed Banks could benefit Farmers and Private Investors

Haiti needs a seed bank to avert a national food crisis. Statistics indicate in 2011 nearly one million inhabitants were severely under-nourished. Since then figures have escalated at an unnerving rate, and soon one-fifth of Haiti's population will be under-fed.


A seed bank contains fertile seeds sealed in receptacles at below-freezing temperatures. The frozen seed material thrives in this environment and can increase its viability indefinitely, by as much as centuries. Other advantages of seed preservation are they occupy a tiny amount of space, and can be processed in very large quantities. Seed banks are capable of great bio-diversity, allowing a variety of plant types to be grown from them.

What keeps farmers unable to meet the needs of a starving population is the prohibitive cost of purchasing seeds. In some instances, they have been pressed to pay three times more than their crops command.

If Haiti could acquire a seed bank, it would have an enormous impact on the livelihoods of farming communities. Seed silos built in well-located parts of the country would make seeds accessible to all. Farmers could produce more crop yields and sell seeds at low prices.

Owning seed banks in Haiti would decrease dependence on expensive imports, permitting farmers to produce many times more the amount they currently harvest. A strategy to motivate farmers to produce greater crop yields is educating private investors on the benefits of promoting varieties of local produce and purchasing advance orders to encourage greater production.

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