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Haiti - Agriculture : Ambitious project aiming to strengthen agricultural sector
27/06/2011 12:30:31

Haiti - Agriculture : Ambitious project aiming to strengthen agricultural sector
Développement international Desjardins (DID), Financière agricole du Québec - Développement international (FADQDI) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) will join together in efforts over the next seven years on an ambitious project aimed at strengthening the framework of the agricultural sector in Haiti.

Initiated by the Government of Haiti, this project will receive $19 million in financial support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The project will lay the groundwork for a system providing agricultural finance and crop insurance in Haiti, a country that has suffered so greatly in recent years. The Government of Haiti will also contribute $1.2 million to the crop insurance fund.

Due to its scope, the project will be divided into two phases.

The initial phase will last approximately three years and will be aimed essentially at developing, testing and documenting the components of the financing and insurance system as well as training the key actors.

In the second phase, the outreach for the financial products offered will be extended and a regulatory framework appropriate for long-term development of the sector will be established.

"By providing Haitians with sustainable financial tools tailored to their specific concerns, this project will lead to better control over agricultural resources, better incomes from those resources and improved living conditions," notes Anne Gaboury, President and CEO of DID.

Mr. Jacques Brind'Amour, chair of the FADQDI board of directors, notes that "through sustainable development of financial services in Haiti the project will necessarily have a positive impact on the capacity of Haiti to raise the percentage of food needs that is met by local producers and, as a result, help fight food insecurity."

Développement international Desjardins will lead the group and provide coordination for all intervention. The consortium will also have a mandate to enhance the professionalism of agricultural credit efforts by participating local financial institutions. To achieve this goal, DID will employ its extensive experience in agricultural finance, drawing on its complete array of fully tested tools and methodologies. DID has been working in Haiti since 1995 and has been delivering assistance to a network of fifty, deeply rooted, community-based financial cooperatives, the Fédération des caisses populaires haïtiennes Le Levier. Today, the Le Levier federation occupies a major place in the society and economy of Haiti and will be called on to play an important role in project implementation.

Financière agricole du Québec - Développement international will have the responsibility of setting up a trust fund designed to support financing of targeted crops and providing partial guarantees for eligible loan portfolios in participating financial institutions. In addition, it will design an initial crop insurance program tailored to community circumstances, then select and train the local personnel who will be in charge of applying the crop insurance mechanism selected in each designated region so that it will be sustainable. It will also develop information, education and communication materials for the producers and stakeholders involved.

Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture will assist the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR) in promoting and disseminating innovative and new technologies in the sector in addition to training agri-entrepreneurs. It will also support the Haitian Government in revising its legal framework and adopting new legislation to foster development of the agricultural credit and crop insurance plan aimed at improving agricultural land management in Haiti.

By strengthening the framework for the agricultural and agri-food sector in Haiti, these joint interventions will have the impact of improving access to agricultural credit, helping agricultural operators improve their risk management related to production and stimulate entrepreneurship, create jobs, adopt effective production practices and ultimately fight food insecurity by boosting local production capacity. It should be noted that 60 percent of food consumed in Haiti is imported. For rice, imports total 80 percent.

Resources to handle the imposing challenges
The challenges that the three organizations will face with their local partners are numerous, including local agriculture that traditionally was barely profitable, regularly reoccurring natural disasters, and an economy that is still unstable after the January 2010 earthquake. However, members of the consortium have excellent knowledge of Haiti, are known for their expertise in their respective areas of intervention, have a desire to work together and concentrate on building local capacities and self-sufficiency of the Haitian stakeholders, all of which may be considered as factors highly promising of success. In order to reduce the risks associated with the project, it will be implemented in two phases and the Haitian Government will play a central role ensuring joint action by all the stakeholders involved.

About DID Développement international Desjardins (DID) is a component of Desjardins Group. For 40 years now it has supported the creation, development and strengthening of financial institutions in over thirty countries in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. Specialized in providing technical support and investment for the community finance sector, DID draws on the rich and diverse experience acquired through collaboration with numerous partners, and on the 110 years of experience of Desjardins Group, the leading cooperative financial group in Canada.

About FADQDI Financière agricole du Québec - Développement international (FADQDI) is a not-for-profit organization affiliated with La Financière agricole du Québec. Its mission is to share the knowledge developed by La Financière agricole, its subsidiaries and partners in the areas of agricultural and agri-food. This includes expertise in crop insurance plans, system financing and development, geomatics and production cost studies which is made available to governments abroad, international agencies, and public or private enterprises. Several projects are currently underway in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The solutions put forward offer features that are innovative, effective and adapted to the local conditions

About IICA The IICA is the specialized agency of the Inter-American system whose purpose is to support Member States in developing their agricultural sector and improving rural communities. To accomplish its mission, the IICA operates in six strategic areas, namely contributing to the repositioning of agriculture and rural life and adopting a new institutional framework; promoting trade and competitiveness for agribusiness and the agri-food sector; promoting safety standards and food safety; promoting sustainable management of natural resources and the environment; promoting new technologies and finally, encouraging innovation aimed at modernizing agricultural and rural development. The IICA has extensive expertise and experience in Haiti, having worked for over 35 years with stakeholders there in the agricultural sector and agri-food industries and with MARNDR representatives.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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