Haiti Agricultural Facts, land and environment

The Tide Turning for Haiti's Ailing Environment. Haiti's environment has suffered an extreme degree of deterioration, nearly unparalled globally. Once blanketed with virgin forests, its canopy only covers 4% of its land mass today. Without forest protection and seasonal heavy rains, topsoil gets sloughed off, creating flood conditions.


Haiti's agriculture sector is one of its largest, and should be the mainstay of the country's economy, but many factors, historical, social, political, and environmental have undermined its ability to thrive. Haiti at one time was the #1 exporter of coffee, and also exported enormous amounts of sugar cane. Global competition in both areas priced them out of the market.

Exporting countries have taken advantage of Haiti by selling them commodities like rice at cheap prices, so they had less incentive to produce it themselves. Becoming dependent on exports, they now had to pay whatever the prevailing price was.

New food assistance programs beneficial to agriculture are happening. The Global Health and Food Security Initiative is working with Haitian farmers to improve their farming methods. And to deal with food insecurity the U.S. Agency for International Development has given $47.5 million to NGOs.

The UN Environment Program is working with environmental degradation in Haiti. Their Improved Stoves Network is about building and learning to use fuel-efficient stoves. To quote from "Recovery and Agriculture in Haiti": "With improved governmental capacity and accountability, a strong network of partnerships with regional, international and NGO partners, and a coordinated effort to rehabilitate the environment, progress is possible."

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