Haitian rice that has been cultivated in the country's fertile land for last 200 years has most likely origin in West Africa. Haiti was self sufficient in rice production till the middle of 1980's, thereafter, it dropped miserably. Since the beginning of the next decade, domestic production was outpaced by import. The main responsible factor identified for falling production is lower tariff on rice import by trade liberalization policies. At 3% import tariff, it is the lowest among all other nations in the Caribbean Community- it is cheaper to import than produce. This has left many already poor rural populations jobless.
A wildly popular Haitian recipe, Diri Ak Djondjon is most popularly served at weddings, first communions and birthday parties as a side dish. This northern Haitian recipe, mostly commonly served with a main course, is a low maintenance dish that cooks up quickly, but gives off such wonderful, delicious aromas when cooking it is a definite favorite. The mushrooms, (Psathyrella coprinoceps) give off incredible color and flavor to the dish. To optimize efficiency when preparing Diri Ak Djondjon, one may prepare all the ingredients you will need in advance.
What you will need:
• 2 cups of rice (long grain)
• 4 cups of water
• 1 cup of dried, black mushrooms
• 1 small, finely chopped onion
• 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
• 2 tbsp. of oil or butter
• Salt (to taste)
• Pepper (to taste)
• A sprig of thyme
Diri Ak Pois Coles, or Rice and Red Beans is a traditional dish of the region, especially in Haiti. It is cooked with red kidney beans. A staple in chili dishes, the beans are popularly used in many parts of the world, including India, Mexico and in the United States. In Haiti, it is combined with rice and other ingredients to make a popular Sunday dinner dish.
What you will need:
• 1 cup red kidney beans
• 6 cups of water
• 2 cups white rice (long grained)
• 1 finely chopped onion
• 2 to 4 cloves of finely chopped garlic
• 1/4 cup smoked ham or salted pork, cubed
• 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
• Sprig of thyme
• Ground cloves
• 1 green hot pepper
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 1 tbsp. butter
Haiti is experiencing an imminent food crisis, which has at its core the destruction of rice farming. The agricultural sector of Haiti, made up of subsistence farmers, cannot compete in an international market overrun with poor quality imports, especially rice, Haiti's number one staple.
Back in the 1970s, rice cultivation was a thriving industry, requiring no foreign imports to meet domestic needs. But that changed at the start of the 1990s. An attempted coup against then-President Aristide set off global trade embargos, stifling Haiti's export market. At this juncture, cheap imports from abroad came in droves. Haiti, a desperately poor country, has needed development banks' aid. They drove a hard bargain, enforcing a lower import tariff, from 50% to 3%. This negatively impacted the economy, because it became more affordable to import U.S. rice than to farm it domestically.
As per the Vietnam government's 2011 records, there is an increase in bilateral trade between Vietnam and Haiti. In 2010 there was a raise of $11 million in the two way trade after which it reached $40 million in 2011. Vietnamese exports are valued at around $15 million.
Haiti's Openness to Trade
Laurent Lamothe, Haiti's Prime Minister stated at the Monday meeting with Nyuyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of Vietnam that the number stood at $19 million thorough the first six months of 2012. Lamothe continued to make efforts to push the message across that Haiti was open to trade.
Thanksgiving Day is not just for Americans because Haitians have their own ways of celebrating it too. While Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States, there are people from the Caribbean and Haiti in particular who have adopted this American tradition.
Just like Americans, Haitian families all over the world take the opportunity of the Thanksgiving Holiday to be with each other. Many of them have big turkey dinners and watch sports among other things.
The only difference is that they add a Caribbean touch and flavor to their celebration in the form of food. Many people from the U.S. with Caribbean roots, do celebrate with their own special menus for the occasion. They are the foods commonly served at Thanksgiving, but with an island flare.
Recently the news media published an article reporting that Japan had sent Haiti rice containing radioactive particulate matter. The article claimed the rice stored was located close to the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant. The Japanese Embassy strongly denied the report, and presented its version of the facts.
The embassy responded by saying the storage space used for housing the rice wasn't located close by the Fukushima evacuation areas, but at Ishikari and Otaru storage facilities on Hokkaido, a northern island at a distance of 404 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Not only was the rice stored well outside the areas of contamination, but that Japan had imported the rice from the U.S. in 2009 and 2010, well before the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan on March 11, 2011. In addition, Japan exported the rice to Haiti two weeks before the earthquake, allowing the government of Haiti (GOH) plenty of time to test and certify the rice's safety for consumption. The delivery happened ahead of schedule due to the GOH's demand for it so they could issue it to the poor and hungry.
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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