After the results were published, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) urgently called for more investment to help Haiti’s rural people return to small-scale farming and avoid a worsening food crisis.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and has long been weak on multiple fronts.
Last month’s earthquake destroyed markets, roads, storage and processing facilities, dairies and irrigation systems. Tropical Storm, which struck days after the seismic event, caused additional damage.
“On top of a series of disasters and crises, this latest double whammy has left people’s ability to produce and access food for their families and communities, in tatters,” said the FAO Representative in the country, Jose Luis Fernandez.
He added, “With the winter planting season approaching in October, we cannot wait to invest in restarting agricultural production. It should happen immediately, but the low levels of funding for this vital work are holding us back.”
Even before the 7.2-magnitude earthquake, poverty, civil unrest, political and economic instability – along with frequent natural disasters and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – had turned Haiti into one of the hardest-hit regions in terms of food supplies.
At that time, 4.4 million people were facing crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity, as measured by the official IPC Food Security Scale.
The earthquake was followed days later by Tropical Depression Grace, decimating the population in the state of the Caribbean Islands, by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
Target those who need it most
About 60 percent of Haiti’s rural population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. For families with fewer resources, backyard food production is critical.
FAO is requesting $20 million to help support the protection and restoration of the livelihoods of 32,000 highly vulnerable rural families. Funds are also needed to rehabilitate community agricultural infrastructure.
About 15,000 at-risk families, or 75,000 people, will receive planting seeds and agricultural tools, as well as technical support. They will also receive a cash transfer equivalent to $200 to cover urgent needs.
About 10,000 families will be provided with poultry and goats as well as emergency feed and help set up feed banks. Veterinary support teams, kits and mobile veterinary services will be provided for 25,000 pets.
FAO also wants to help rehabilitate agricultural infrastructure, which is supposed to benefit 7,000 families. Irrigation canals and facilities for processing fruit, cassava, corn, peanuts, milk and fish will also be rehabilitated, the agency said.
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