In “Agriculture in Post-Quake Haiti,” The Epoch Times reports that as Haitian farmers struggle to prepare for the spring planting season, rebuilding the agricultural sector in the impoverished, earthquake-devastated country will need a broad range of support from other countries, with funding necessary. The following are excerpts with link to the full article below.
“For the moment all efforts are focused on immediate needs, putting up emergency shelter, latrines, inputs for the farming season. There is planning for long-term reconstruction but no activities yet. Lack of funding for agriculture is the single major constraint to activities,” according to Alexander Jones, Haiti Emergency Response manager with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
In an interview from Haiti this week, Mr. Jones said the Agriculture Cluster—82 NGOs and U.N. agencies led by the FAO in Haiti—has to date received only 8 percent of its requested funding. “For the first season we’re struggling. We’re really working hard to get more and better seeds in for planting. Seeds, fertilizer, and tools are really critical,” he said. There will be a second planting season from August to the beginning of September, but the first planting season, from March until the beginning of April, produces about 60 percent of the annual crop.
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The immediate concern is to plant the first season, to relieve reliance on food aid. Longer-term reconstruction will require water harvesting, erosion prevention, tree replanting, use of cover crops, along with other conservation and soil management activities. “[Haiti] used to be a very rich country. It used to be self-sufficient in food, but because of rather poor management practices it’s now a bit of a wasteland” said Mr. Jones.
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According to Mr. Jones, however, it’s not just a question of money. He noted that a key source of primary support will be Haiti’s very strong and very dynamic Diaspora in Canada, the United States, and a few other countries. “Knowledge, support, people willing to come back for a certain amount of time to work here, I think that’s going to be critical, and it’s a big asset that Haiti has,” Mr. Jones said.
For full article, see http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/content/view/30346/
Photo from http://secint50.un.org/av/photo/subjects/haiti.html