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Haiti - Agriculture : The exodus of the young of rural
22/09/2010 15:44:46

Haiti - Agriculture : The exodus of the young of rural
The problem of farm labor in Haiti is closely tied to the poverty in which is agriculture. The chronic lack of investment in this sector has been a major obstacle to its development. It is considered high risk due to recurrent natural disasters that hit the country. Young people between 25 and 35 are no longer attracted to farm work they consider less rewarding. They prefer migrate to urban centers and then to Port-au-Prince. Some of them perform temporary stays in the Dominican Republic before immigrating to the United States.

Compared to last year, producers have encountered more difficulties this season to find laborers for tillage and planting. Some workers directly affected by the earthquake were more in shelters in search of assistance. Lack of manpower has been accompanied by higher prices paid compared to the situation before the earthquake. The price of labor has been influenced by the new law setting to 200 Haitian gourds (1) the minimum daily wage. Faced with these new wages, the majority of rural households received the displaced, no longer had sufficient resources to pay the labor. This has strengthened in certain areas as mutual aid associations called "Konbit" that allow mutual assistance between members in farm work. All these factors have not allowed a good availability of agricultural labor and contributed to the decrease of cultivated land during the spring season. In general, young people are socially more rewarding to work in urban centers that engage in field work.

The persistence of difficulties in finding labor at the time of soil preparation and planting has led governments to establish a subvention program for plowing set between 1,500 and 2,000 gourdes per hectare plowed cons 10,000 to 13.000 gourdes per hectare plowed with private operators. aThus, eighteen tractors were placed in the departmental office of agriculture and t the level of associations of producers who have helped cultivate 500 hectares this season. This initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (Ministère de l'Agriculture des Ressources Naturelles et du Développement Rural MARNDR) is an early response to the recurring problem of mechanization of cultivation and the high pressure of demand for agricultural labor at the time of plowing.

(1) 40 gourdes for about US$1

HL/ HaitiLibre

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