The following report from CBS news explains the problems posed by continued food aid to Haiti.
Of all the things you’ve heard about earthquake aid to Haiti, here’s something you probably didn’t know: Haiti’s government wants large-scale food assistance and free health care to stop. If it’s news to you, it was to CBS News too, when Katie Couric recently visited Haiti and spoke to Erin Boyd, a nutrition aide for UNICEF. Boyd disagrees with cutting back on aid, but told why it’s being done. “When you continue having a lot of food distributions, you lower the price of food so that people can’t trade, and it disrupts markets, basically,” Boyd said.
In other words, CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports, there may be such a thing as too much help. The public outpouring is so generous it’s interfering with the Haitian economy.
If food is free local farmers can’t sell what they grow.
Desperately poor residents who aren’t earthquake victims are moving into refugee camps for the free food and health care. But the government wants residents to be less dependent on foreign aid, not more.
Susan Reichle is with USAID, the U.S. agency that distributes foreign aid. It’s already spent $562 million on Haiti relief. “As they’ve requested that these large-scale food distributions end as well as some of the large-scale programs which are really pulling people into the camps, we’re working with them. We’re in complete agreement with them on this point,” Reichle said.
Pulling back on aid means something a lot of American donors might find unthinkable. Even as many go without meals, relief food that’s already made it to Haiti is now being sent to warehouses for future disasters. USAID calls it “prepositioning.”