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Haiti - Agriculture : 3,000 hectares of rice cultivation abandoned due to insecurity
19/04/2024 10:07:31

Haiti - Agriculture : 3,000 hectares of rice cultivation abandoned due to insecurity
In its latest bulletin published on April 15, 2024, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO - Haiti) indicates that since November 2023, the food supply to markets in the South region has been reduced due to roadblocks on the main road linking Port-au-Prince, resulting in upward pressure on food prices. In addition, imports have been suspended since the beginning of March 2024, following the closure of ports and airports, which further has a negative impact on food availability.

Humanitarian agencies are also facing increasing difficulties in delivering aid due to roadblocks and looting of supplies. In March 2024, the country had 362,550 internally displaced people, more than double compared to the previous year. The majority were displaced to avoid attacks/violence, leaving their livelihoods behind...

Increased insecurity has also caused the abandonment of growing areas in the Artibonite department, where 90% of annual rice production is produced. Abandoned areas are estimated at 3,000 hectares, or approximately 5% of the total areas sown with rice at the national level, concentrated in the east of the department, where insecurity has intensified in recent years. More than 2,000 rice farmers have fled the violence and chosen to farm in the lowlands of western Artibonite, although they are less well equipped with irrigation facilities and more prone to flooding.

According to the latest analysis of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), the number of people experiencing acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 [Crisis] or above) is estimated at a record high of 5 million (50% of the analyzed population) for the period from March to June 2024, with a slight increase compared to the same period in 2023.

In addition to intensifying violence and rising prices, a lack of humanitarian aid has contributed to record levels of acute food insecurity. Between August and December 2023, only around 5% of the population was able to receive food aid.

Planting of maize and paddy for the 2024 main season is underway. Above-average precipitation forecast in April and May 2024 should fill soil water deficits in certain areas of the main cereal-producing departments of Artibonite, West and Center (NDVI map) and provide conditions conducive to germination crops and vegetative development. Weather forecasts indicate a continuation of wetter than average weather conditions over the period June-August 2024, associated with the La Niña phenomenon.

However, if excessive rains occur during the ripening stage of crops or at harvest time, they could reduce yields or limit field work. Areas planted for the 2024 main season maize and paddy crops are expected to remain below average, due to high production costs and low availability of inputs, including seeds, as these are generally sourced from of the previous agricultural season, which was below average.

Cereal imports for the 2023/24 marketing year (July/June), mainly wheat and rice for food consumption, are expected at 760,000 tonnes, close to the five-year average. Imports between July 2023 and February 2024 were higher than their previous year's level, due to the year-on-year decline in international prices of rice and wheat.

HL/ HaitiLibre

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