Haiti is facing a profound political and economic crisis. Functional governance that serves the interests of Haiti's people is largely nonexistent. One of the necessities to overcome this crisis is transitioning from the extractive environmental and economic model that has long plagued the country to one that is regenerative and good for Haitians and their environment.
In July of 2021 President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, and the current Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, is unelected. In fact, Haiti now has no elected government officials at local or national levels since the terms of 10 Senators expired on January 10, 2023. Armed gangs control over half of the neighborhoods and streets in Port-au-Prince, and have significant influence outside of the capital as well. They are inter-connected with many police and politicians. Haiti's electoral council is not currently able to organize elections, and the conditions for safe voting would not exist if they did. Haiti is already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and the poverty and food crisis is growing. In 2022, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) ranked Haiti in the 10 worst hunger crises in the world, with 4.3 million (over 37% of the population) in need of immediate food assistance.
International attention to Haiti typically rises when internal events and turmoil threaten to spill over and affect other nations - whether in the form of the 'dangerous example' of a successful slave revolt that established the independent nation in 1804; the flow of boat people and refugees to the US and other countries in recent decades; or humanitarian crises so severe that they shock our collective conscience and call out for a response. An example of the latter was the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck the country in January of 2010, crumbling inadequate housing and infrastructure in the coastal capital of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, killing over 250,000 people, and drawing global attention and support. Though there have been more powerful earthquakes around the world before and since, the conditions for that level of death and destruction were created by many decades of corrupt governance, weak institutions, and exploitative international relations.
Agriculture plays an essential role in the Haitian economy. It accounts for more than 20% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and constitutes the primary revenue source and employment, particularly in rural areas. Approximately 50% of the Haitian population is employed in the sector. Agriculture is also vital for food security and nutrition among Haitian households.
Productivity levels in Haiti for the sector are among the lowest in the world. Agricultural productivity in Haiti is low and has seen little growth in the past 50 years. Although the reasons for this disappointing performance are complex, some of the productivity constraints include poor rural infrastructure, insecure land tenure, lack of investment and access to technology, poorly developed input and output markets, and frequent and severe climatic shocks.
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on the sector. The pandemic and the subsequent economic crisis have left Haitian agricultural households with less access to means of production (capital, credit, etc.) and even more limited governmental assistance than usual. Further, due to the mobility restrictions and the closure of major ports, Haitian farmers have met increased challenges in selling their products to local and international markets. These restrictions had serious impacts on food supply and the country's food security condition, which was already precarious before the pandemic.
This project aims to build an environment of peace by strengthening agricultural production. We will be training producers on best practices to obtain better results in their crops. Also, they will be trained to implement new systems in their production techniques, in order to increase the quantity of products.
The realization of this project includes the installation of a small irrigation system to be able to irrigate a portion of land that needs water for production. It also includes a chicken and goat farm that will serve as a source of food for the beneficiaries, both meat and eggs, as excellent sources of protein, thus fighting against food insecurity that plagues the country.
We understand that by improving agricultural production and raising chickens and goats, with the support of an irrigation system in the sector, we will be helping to consolidate peace in the community and we will be promoting conflict prevention.