Haiti Continues to Receiving Food Aid & Not Agricultural Support

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.

A recent fivefold investigative survey has evaluated the bad effects of food aid and reasons for failure by government to make Haitian agriculture more efficient and self sufficient. Agriculture could be one of the most contributing sectors in Haitian economy. It represents 25% of the GDP and employs two-third of the population but has remained most ignored both to the government and the foreign donors. It receives only 5% of the federal budget, much lesser than the foreign aid it receives on food. The government and non-government agencies often come out with multiple programs and strategies which are often contradictory and barely deliver any concrete results.

There are many important issues which require immediate critical appraisal such as land tenure system, adequate quality seeds, deforestation and other environmental degradation, necessary changes in food habits, supportive infrastructure and many others. But, unfortunately, the government has slashed tariff under pressure from U.S. and some international financial institutions. People are leaving their lands because local crops cannot compete with cheaper foreign food and the country is forced to be happy with cheap imported foods.

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