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Haiti - Agriculture : FAO support to mitigate the impact of food insecurity
20/04/2020 10:35:01

Haiti - Agriculture : FAO support to mitigate the impact of food insecurity
José Luis Fernández Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Haiti explained that the route followed by food, from agricultural plots to our tables, involves a large network of actors : producers, suppliers of agricultural inputs, food processing companies, storage, transport, distribution and provision of products at points of sale.

This long chain that secures the food supply is facing a great complexity today as the contamination of the Covid-19 coronavirus increases, and that the Governments take the necessary measures to limit its spread and guarantee the health of its citizens.

He recalled that in Haiti, long before the spread of Covid-19, food insecurity was alarming. "Socio-political unrest, deteriorating security conditions, inflation rate (20.1% September 2019) according to the Bank of the Republic of Haiti (BRH) have greatly reduced access to food from the poorest households. In rural areas, the persistence of the El Niño phenomenon, characterized by prolonged drought since 2018 until the first half of 2019 in several departments of the country, has affected the production of the main crops, especially cereals (maize, rice and sorghum) and beans/peas, causing a 12.3% drop in national agricultural production compared to that of last year, which was itself below normal."

According to the analysis of the Integrated Food Security Classification Framework (IPC) conducted in October 2019 at the national level https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-29220-haiti-humanitarian-more-than-one-million-haitians-in-emergency-food-situation.html, 12% of the population or 1,203,000 people are in emergency phase (IPC, Phase 4), and 28% 2,898,000 people are in crisis phase (IPC, Phase 3), representing a total of approximately 40% of the population analyzed, i.e. 4.1 million people who will need emergency assistance https://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-29849-haiti-flash-41-million-haitians-will-be-food-insecure-between-march-and-june-2020.html . A situation which is likely to deteriorate with the spread of Covid-19 which could affect the success of the spring agricultural campaign.

With a view to limiting the spread of Covid-19, the FAO has made general recommendations to the 193 countries, including Haiti, which receive technical assistance from the United Nations.

FAO recommendations :

1) Strengthen social protection systems to mitigate the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable categories of the population;

2) Avoid measures affecting the functioning and traceability of the world food market, a lesson drawn from the effects caused by the measures taken by certain countries on the rice market and which have generated global inflation on a group of cereals;

3) Take into account the measures necessary to guarantee the movement of workers in key sectors and to put in place effective mechanisms to guarantee the harvest and transport of food;

4) Avoid the practice of excessive storage of food, as many of them can lead to losses and waste in the coming months and alter the normal flow of household consumption. Finally, it is worth highlighting the effects of the sharp devaluation of many currencies against the US dollar, which will inevitably affect countries that are more dependent on imports, including Haiti.

FAO works jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR) to guarantee the success of the spring agricultural campaign by using its own funds and those of the Central Intervention Fund for United Nations Emergency (CERF) to provide agricultural assistance to 26,300 households (131,500 people) in the Departments of Nord'Est, Nord'Ouest, Nippes and Grand'Anse.

Note that to mitigate the negative impact of Covid-19 on the most vulnerable rural communities in Haiti, FAO has mobilized additional funding (CERF) as part of the United Nations Humanitarian Response Plan for the pandemic of Covid-19. https://www.icihaiti.com/en/news-30498-icihaiti-usa-$1m-more-to-help-rural-communities.html

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