News / Americas

Hunger Looms as Support for Haiti's Farmers Falls Short

With the planting season approaching, farmers lack funds for seeds, labor

A farmer in Vaudreuil, Haiti, works in a cornfield (File)
A farmer in Vaudreuil, Haiti, works in a cornfield (File)

With Haiti's March planting season approaching, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is warning that international support for the nation's farmers is falling short after last month's devastating earthquake.

More than 60 percent of Haiti's annual food crop is planted in the season that begins in March, according to the FAO. To support this critical activity and help restore the island's quake-damaged food economy, the United Nations has requested member states to contribute $70 million to a special fund. But at a news conference earlier this week, FAO Director General Jacques Diouf said only a small fraction of that money has been pledged.

"At a time when Haiti is facing a major food crisis, we are alarmed by the lack of support for the agricultural sector component," he says. "With this level of support, the revival of the country's agricultural-base livelihoods cannot be ensured."

Rural demands


Demands on the country's agricultural base have increased sharply since mid-January because an estimated half-million people fled the ruined capital of Port-au-Prince for the countryside. Myra De Bruijn, with the charity group ActionAid, says Haitians were already having problems producing enough food before the quake.

"What is different now," says De Bruijn, "is that the population in some areas is five times more than the normal population. How can they cope with this pressure with the extra amount of people needing food?"

De Bruijn says people's immediate need for food also threatens longer-term food supplies. Hungry people will likely eat seeds they would normally plant for the next crop. And money spent buying food today means less available to buy seeds for the March planting season.

Cash for work

Sabine Wilke with the aid group CARE notes that farmers need more than just seeds. "For the harvest and for planting, they also need local labor," she says. "And since they do not have enough money to hire people, the work will simply not be done."

She says crops won't get planted and workers won't earn money, quickening the downward spiral of hunger and poverty.

CARE and the FAO are running a small cash-for-work program in the town of Leogane which is at the epicenter of the earthquake. The program will employ about 4,000 people who will clear debris from essential roads and irrigation canals, putting cash in some people's pockets while restoring essential farming infrastructure.

A number of groups are working with local organizations to distribute seeds and tools to needy farmers. But the needs are tremendous in a country where more than half the people were malnourished even before the earthquake.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US Judge Holds Argentina in Contempt Over Bond Payment Plan

In rare move, District Judge Thomas Griesa says country taking 'illegal' steps to evade his orders in longstanding dispute with hedge funds over defaulted debt
More

Brazil's Rousseff Extends Lead Over Silva in Elections

President Dilma Rousseff's expected victory margin over closest rival Marina Silva has surged to 9 percentage points
More

8 Killed in Peru Quake

The victims of the 4.9-magnitude tremor were all from the mountainous community of Misca, where many homes collapsed in the quake
More

S. Africa Gives Cuba $31 Million Economic Aid

South African President Jacob Zuma pledged the money to Cuba in 2010, but its implementation was delayed for several years
More

At UN, Indigenous Forest Peoples Express Folk Spirituality, 'Green' Values'

Over 1,000 delegates were invited to a UN conference to share perspectives on 'best practices' to ensure indigenous rights worldwide.
More

Venezuela Suffers Another Blackout

South American OPEC member nation seeing increasing power cuts in recent years, labeled as evidence of mismanagement by the socialist authorities
More