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Haiti - Agriculture : Winter agricultural campaign, cautious optimism
This campaign is closely linked to the spring campaign, whose productivity was affected by a lack of rain and bad weather on June 2nd and 3rd, 2023. In addition, the summer/autumn campaign saw a reduction in production this year by compared to the previous year, mainly due to the lack of precipitation at the start of the season, which had a negative impact on the first crops. This trend is corroborated by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) map, which indicates a vegetation deficit in July, increasing in August 2023.
Harvests of mountain beans, corn, millet, cassava, yams, and rice in the irrigated plains have declined significantly. Even avocado pickings in certain areas, particularly in the South-East, have declined. Several factors explain this situation, including:
i) The reduction in cultivated areas due to the financial inability of farmers to cover production costs;
ii) The low availability and high cost of agricultural inputs;
iii) Lack of subsidies and technical support;
iv) The level of degradation of agricultural infrastructure (irrigation canals and drains);
v) Violence perpetrated by armed gangs in certain production areas, pushing farmers to abandon their land, particularly in Artibonite and north of Port-au-Prince.
However, the sowing carried out mid-season and the rains recorded during the month of August and September in several departments of the country could lead to more efficient harvests.
Thus, we hope for a certain availability of beans and corn from humid mountain areas, rice in the irrigated plains, products
market gardeners in the North, North East, South East, South and Artibonite;
Yams, cassava, bananas, sweet potatoes in the Corail mountains, Pestel in Grand’Anse;
Corn in almost the entire commune of Les Cayes;
Harvests of millet and Congo peas from spring plantings are expected in the South-East and Artibonite.
Farmers continue to face financial difficulties and the scarcity of agricultural inputs on the market, including vegetable seeds, chemical fertilizers and inputs for the poultry industry supplied by the Dominican Republic. In addition, work to clean irrigation canals is absent or late.
Regarding the upcoming winter agricultural season, preparations for the cultivation of rice, vegetables in the irrigated plains and beans and corn in the humid mountains are underway in all departments.
Farmers in the North plan to cultivate more land due to regular rains expected during this period, based on climate observations in recent years. In addition, agricultural labor will be more available with the return of Haitians from the Dominican Republic.
Actors such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Mercy Corps are planning interventions to support farmers during this campaign. The MARNDR Resilient Agriculture and Food Security Project (PARSA) is underway in the South and Grand'Anse departments, with bean distributions planned in the Center.
On social media, residents from different regions of the country are undertaking maintenance work on agricultural infrastructure with the aim of reviving agriculture and promoting local products.
These initiatives could also encourage farmers to cultivate more land, provided that they have the necessary technical support and that the weather season is favorable for the success of this campaign.