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Haiti - Agriculture : Rebuilding the agricultural sector
24/06/2011 13:20:36

Haiti - Agriculture : Rebuilding the agricultural sector
During a briefing on Monday, 20th at the US Department of State, Victor M. Villalobos, Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), David C. Hatch, IICA Representative in the U.S., and the IICA Representative in Haiti, Dr. Alfredo Mena gave an overview of the Institute's yearlong activities to contribute to the reconstruction of Haiti's agricultural sector. The briefing served as part of IICA's overall strategy to emphasize the importance of agriculture development for the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly Haiti.

"Ensuring technical cooperation has been the core of IICA's work for over 70 years," declared Victor Mr. Villalobos. "Today's challenges in agriculture development calls for increased investment, innovation and risk management [...] Governments must find ways to promote sustainable development in order to help raise the rural poor out of poverty. IICA pledges its full commitment to supporting its member countries in this critical endeavor."

During the session, Alfredo Mena, IICA's Representative in Haiti, shed light on some challenges facing the sector. He said, "Helping to strengthen the Ministry of Agriculture to implement policy and plans is paramount [...] Without this component, it will be increasingly difficult to put in place systems that allow for increased investment which will ultimately create jobs for rural people and feed Haiti, while protecting it’s natural resources and environment."

Mena also cited examples of horizontal cooperation, current projects in negotiation and provided key highlights of the 2010-2014 Haiti Country Strategy. He reiterated the focus of IICA activities. "Ensuring food security remains a top priority for us [...] We’ve just begun the 4th year of the Pro-Huerta Project, a family agriculture program which has benefited over 15,000 families to date [...] Beneficiaries also include many other families who have received funds from PROHUERTA from Spain and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)" adding that "The IICA Office in Haiti works in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and natural Resource (MARNDR) and have implemented 17 priority projects with the donor community..."

The Haiti Country Strategy, a road map to assist the Ministry of Agriculture in rebuilding Haiti's agricultural sector, aims to increase national production to support food security; support animal and plant health programs; expand reforestation, promote agribusiness and the private sector; provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Agriculture, particularly with the new government; preserve natural resources and reinforce cooperation and between committed organizations and governments. "The Haiti Country Strategy serves as an important guide on how IICA can best help to meet country level needs to build a sustainable agriculture," concluded Villalobos.

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