Haiti's Agriculture Focus: Enhance Food Security, Generate Income, Create Jobs

Posted by Ertharin Cousin
February 19, 2010
Haiti's Agriculture Minister Speaks at UN World Food Programme Meeting

More about the Haiti earthquake and how you can help:state.gov/haitiquakeAbout the Author: Ertharin Cousin serves as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies in Rome.

On the one month anniversary of the tragic earthquake in Haiti, high-level representatives gathered in Rome to witness the unveiling of Haiti's new agriculture plan. The plan was presented by Haiti's Agriculture Minister, Joanas Gue, who noted at the outset of his presentation that Haiti's planting season is set to begin next month, and thus urgent steps need to be taken now to ensure that Haitian farmers are prepared and receive the necessary support.

In addition, all parties at the Rome meeting concurred that stakeholders in Haiti's development need to seize this opportunity to develop medium and long-term perspectives for sustainable food security and agriculture development in Haiti. Toward that end, Minister Gue enunciated Haiti's priorities, which include the reconstruction of productive infrastructures; strengthening and bolstering productive capacity of farmers; and improving enhancement of farm products and strengthened access to market structures.

Cheryl Mills, Counselor and Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Clinton, represented the United States at the Rome meeting, and took the opportunity to emphasize U.S. determination to stand by Haiti and to redouble our commitment to support development of the agriculture sector under a coordinated plan led by Haiti and in line with the Rome Principles established earlier this year to promote global food security. She took the occasion to announce important new areas of U.S. investment: rebuilding the Ministry of Agriculture; rapid and transparent information exchange and coordination; enhanced engagement with the Dominican Republic and job creation while not abandoning the pre-quake strategy. The United States is also assisting in the immediate term through resources for seed and fertilizer to ensure that farmers can capitalize on the planting season.

The tragedy in Haiti has spurred real movement on the part of the international community, with an exciting new proposal coming from the Directors General of the World Food Programme, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the Food and Agriculture Organization to form a joint Task Force for Food Security in Haiti. This task force will support Haiti's efforts to implementation a concerted, coherent and targeted immediate and longer-term food security strategy that integrates agricultural production and social safety nets. For its part, the World Bank proposed the creation of a Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Haiti, which was developed in collaboration with the Inter-American Development Bank, while Canada proposed structuring donor pledges strictly as grants.

Given the scale of the need in Haiti, the path toward sustainable food security will require a complex combination of government, multilateral, and regional efforts, with necessary engagement by both the private sector and civil society. We look forward to working with all of the stakeholders in the months and years ahead to invest in Haitian agriculture and to take aim at poverty -- the root cause of food insecurity and under-nutrition.

Read more about and watch videos from the Rome meeting on Haitian food security.

Comments

Comments

HELEN L.
|
Canada
February 22, 2010

Helen L. in Canada writes:

TO HELP HAITI///// UNDER THE NAFTA USA HAD TO DO THEIR AGRICULTURE ZONE WORK./ I STILL HAVE THEIR WORK WHEN THEY STARTED THE AGRICULTURE PROJECT UNDER THE NAFTA AGREEMENT.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 22, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I had a thought on how the international community might provide adequate hard shelter before hurricane season.

I don't have a clue how many shipping containers there are standing idle globally in these economic times, but I suspect there's a few hundred thousand out there somewhere standing empty.

A Conex may not be the most spacious of dwellings, but they are almost indestructable.

With a little creative interior design, you can house a family.

Modified with some venting, you basicly have a modular pre-fab home. And you can secure the contents, unlike a tent.

Got a welder? You can make a "double-wide".

Put solar panels on to shade the metal from the sun and provide enough juice for lighting and a hot plate and you have off-the-grid sustainability.

So... How many phone calls does it take to the shipping lines of the world to make it so?

Solar companies could shine...

All those fancy battery makers could prove their wares in a hostile environment....

And with smart planning you all can provide shelter from the storms.

This is where the public/private partnership concept tests its mettle and creates jobs.

James S.
|
Virginia, USA
February 22, 2010

James S. in Virginia writes:

We need to ensure that Haiti has control over production and control is not given to foriegn investors who destroyed Haiti's agriculture, cement production, and communications industries. The Haitian government should direct the plan and we should support them and Haitian activists. They need seeds they can grow themselves each year not hybrid seeds from Monsanto. They need compost they can make themselves from farming waste not expensive fertilizer. We have to stop seeing Haiti as a way to enrich ourselves and give them back the control we stole with slavery, the demand for payment for the slaves' freedom, and several military coups and kidnappings.

Ron
|
New York, USA
February 22, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

HAITI: Opportunity from Crisis...Two Birds with One Stone.

What's that Chinese symbol? Crisis and Opportunity?...Haiti is a small working model
for global economic, political, social and ecologic restoration. Retire the debt, restore
democratic systems, renew cultural strength, and reclaim ecological integrity. This could be a post-colonial tour de force.
Pay for it all with assets seized from regional drug trafficking. That's killing two birds with one stone.

Inigo
|
Montana, USA
February 22, 2010

Inigo in Montana writes:

From the EPA Website. Looks like somebody's already on it... though it is still in the developmental stage.

"Advanced Search EPA Grant Number: SU834342
Title: Developing Sustainable Strategies for Hurricane-Effected Areas: Innovative Container Housing on the Island of Dominica- The Herbergeour House

Clemson University students are designing a prototype housing unit made out of retired shipping containers that can withstand hurricanes. The approach will address the immediate concern of low-quality housing for low-income populations in hurricane-effected areas, producing a new paradigm in emergency housing by providing emergency housing that is able to be adapted to the homeowner's needs in order to ultimately provide a safe and secure permanent residence, while serving as a framework to quickly assemble shelter and restore local food supplies for displaced populations in a manner that restores community cohesion, as well as reducing waste and capturing and filtering rain water."

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 22, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Inigo in Montana,

Thanks so much for your post! You made my day.

Where did you come up with that factoid anyway?

If parallel thinking exists, this may circumstantial evidence.

'cause it was off the top of my head, having flashed on the idea when I found a key to a Conex I'd forgotten to return to a former employer years ago.

Strange days indeed.

Best regards,

EJ

Inigo
|
Montana, USA
February 22, 2010

Inigo in Montana writes:

I searched the web on USA.gov and, as I said, it was on the EPA website.

You found a key.

Spiritus mundi.

Synchronicity.

(naturally, credit goes to Sting for my illumination)

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
February 22, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Inigo,

Google...Duh!

Better I should have asked, "What promted that search in the first place?"

Gut instinct told me it had potential, thanks again for the follow through.

"...and the Russians love their children too."

Sting was a true diplomat in stating this. Changed mindsets he did with it.

I guess we'll have to see if thought moves initiative out of Clemson into the real world.

If it's meant to be, so be the doing it right.

EJ

Inigo
|
Montana, USA
February 23, 2010

Inigo in Montana writes:

I just wondered if anyone else had thought of it, that's all. There were many more hits there... this is not an original idea. But the project at Clemson was the only one that mentioned hurricanes on tropical islands and I thought that was an intersting coincidence.

Sting got me interested enough in Koestler and Jung to actually read their work and I thank him for it.

Jennifer
|
Colorado, USA
March 4, 2010

Jennifer in Colorado writes:

just returned from volunteering in Port-Au- Prince,,,,,,,,we need to get Urban gardening up and running in the city

.

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