Agriculture And Food
Do you remember few months ago, there was a plan to send 500 metric tons of surplus U.S. peanuts to feed 140,000 malnourished Haitian schoolchildren?
It is clear that just like imported rice killed the local rice production in Haiti, the same thing would happen with local peanut production. Haitifs own peanut market stands to lose big when surplus peanuts from the United States are flown in as food aid.
On paper, it seems to be a great goodwill gesture from the United States as they are feeding malnourished Haitian schoolchildren. In reality, this is no other than crop dumping
Like the Americans idolize Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg, the Haitian agricultural community idolized equally Louis Dejoie, an exemplary genius agricultural minded entrepreneur.
Growing up, Dejoie's name was a house on his own. Everyone knew, heard or had an idea of who he was. To put it bluntly, he was a genuine agricultural entrepreneur godfather. Nowadays, seemingly youngsters in Haiti barely have a genius role model to look up to or to inspire by. As they progress in life, they become severely damaged by the Raboday "Syndrome" and they start searching for Setters for aspirations and role models.
Born in Port-au-Prince from the aristocratic/elite class, Dejoie was an agricultural pioneer in his own right. His obsessed fascination for agriculture had led him to travel great distances across the Atlantic to master so many agricultural subjects and techniques, from agricultural chemistry to agricultural entrepreneuria. He alone installed and created more than a dozen agricultural businesses throughout the country from Ile-a-Vache, Port-Salut, Cayes, and Miragoane to St Michel de l'Attalaye with more than 50,000 direct employments in the agricultural sector only. His agricultural prowess was unmatched. He was so convinced that Haiti, as a primary agricultural country, has the potential of becoming an agricultural force as it had been during the colonial times. His high IQ and his passion made him a true agricultural genius amongst his fierce competitors. Even though he was a senator, his political ambition was even larger than life. He was so driven that he was willing to take matters on his own by running for presidency until he was defeated in the presidential campaign in the late 1950's.
The American government has decided to ship 500 metric tons of surplus of American peanuts to Haiti to help feed 140,000 malnourished schoolchildren in Haiti. This is a form of humanitarian aid program where packaged, dry-roasted peanuts from a vast U.S. stockpile will go to Haiti and distributed free of charge to youngsters in rural schools.
Looking at this on the surface, this is a great program, helping poor, malnourished children get a free meal. The story is much more complicated than that. this kind of help that sounds great has long term consequences that will be devastating to a poor nation like Haiti. A flood of imported peanut will temporarily suppress hunger; however, in the long term, this will make Haiti depend more into imported peanuts.
The first crop of organic bananas has been harvested, and is on its way to Europe and parts of the Caribbean. A German cargo ship docked at the coastal city of Cap Haitien to pick up and transport 100 tons of organic bananas. Before the ship left Haiti, German quality assurance professionals examined the load of 8,000 bunches of bananas.
AGRITRANS, part of an agriculture association, is elated it has met the challenge to permit it to export organic bananas to the Euro zone market. In two years time, AGRITRANS expects 450 containers of organic bananas to be exported every week to Europe.
There are many good news for the Haitian sorghum producers. Two companies, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Papyrus, a project management firm with experience in agribusiness have come forward to their assistance. MIF has recently approved $2.4 million grant to help the small-scale sorghum farmers under a 4-year project named "Smallholder Alliance for Sorghum in Haiti (SMASH)" which would be implemented under supervision of 'Papyrus'. The objective of the project is to enhance the skills for about the 18,000 sorghum farmers in five Haitian departments (North and North East, West, South, Artibonite, and Plateau Central) and support their marketability. SMASH also addresses issues like poor soil quality and efficient harvest yields.
Haiti has been depending on food aid for over last 50 years. Decades of inexpensive imports has destroyed the local agriculture. Haitian import tariff on food at 3% are among the lowest in the Caribbean. As a result, Haiti is unable to feed himself.
Today Haiti depends on the outside world nearly most of its sustenance. Fifty five percent of the food eaten in the country is imported, mostly from U.S and the Dominican Republic; this includes 80% of all the rice consumed within the country. However, recently some of the international aid agencies have raised a cry of alarm. Haiti is facing severe food shortage. Almost two-thirds of the population (around 7 million people) is hungry.
Haiti is still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Sandy, which damaged a large amount of crops and agriculture produce in the country. According to reports, floods covered almost the entire southern part of the country. This means that not only houses are affected but also crop and livestock farms. As a matter of fact, officials are now worried that losses in crop production can lead to food shortages.
Disasters such as floods are not uncommon in Haiti and this is the reason why people, particularly farmers, should always be prepared. However, it is not everytime that farmers have enough time to keep their farms safe from floods. In this case, one must know how to deal with the floods' effects on their farm goods.
Understanding the vulnerability in which the Haitian population is today in regard to high cost of food, the Haitian government has reacted by creating a price stabilization Commission. In addition, the government has ordered 300,000 bags of rice in order to affect the current price of rice in the market.
The 300,000 bags of rice is expected to be injected immediately into the market in order to reduce the price of rice. The Martelly Lamothe government informed the public that they will continue to follow this policy every time they see an increase on price of rice.
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