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Haiti - Agriculture : USAID invests in agriculture of North
01/07/2013 08:25:34

Haiti - Agriculture : USAID invests in agriculture of North
The U.S. Agency for International Development has launched the Feed the Future North (FTFN) project, which seeks to spur economic growth in promising agricultural areas in northern Haiti while at the same time developing local firms to be direct USAID partners. The project is supported by USAID under Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

FTFN was developed in cooperation with Haiti's Ministry of Agriculture. It aims to increase agricultural incomes for at least 40,000 rural households in northern Haiti, expand financial services to local agribusinesses, stabilize watersheds that support farmland, and improve roads in some of the most fertile but inaccessible farming areas. A key project component aims to increase the number of local Haitian firms who participate as direct contracting partners, USAID said

"The North is a key region of Haiti. Working here on food security benefits the entire country. We will be working alongside the Ministry of Agriculture to increase agricultural production and improve farmers’ lives,” said U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela A. White at the project’s announcement, which was also attended by Haiti President Michel Martelly.

According to USAID, Feed the Future North is a five-year, $88-million project that will focus on expanding farmers’ yields, primarily of five key crops: corn, beans, rice, plantains and cocoa. In addition to traditional farmer support, erosion protection and investments in agricultural infrastructure, it will seek to employ new technology — including mobile money — to make it easier for farmers and agribusinesses to manage their transactions, and mobile phones to transmit market and other information beneficial to farmers. The project will ensure that both women and men benefit from FTFN interventions.

FTFN comes on the heels of the Feed the Future West (FTFW) project that has reached more than 30,000 farmers to date in the Cul-de-Sac and Saint-Marc corridors outside of Port-au-Prince. The project has introduced improved seeds, fertilizer and new technologies that have helped participating farmers substantially increase their crop yields and augment their gross incomes from some $200 per hectare to more than $1,100 per hectare. Additionally, in the wake of the 2012 drought and storms, FTFW contributed to the U.S. government response to increased food insecurity in Haiti by rehabilitating important irrigation systems that were damaged by the storms.

Feed the Future North is projected to fund approximately $40 million in local subcontracts and grants to Haitian partners to support a Haitian-led process and to ensure the project’s long-term sustainability. These local partners will be charged with carrying out the project’s work for years to come, USAID said.

"Agriculture is fundamental to Haiti’s economy," said Mark Anthony White, acting mission director of USAID/Haiti. "But to be effective, assistance must develop resilience, especially in Haiti where farmers are exposed to adversities such as flooding, drought and earthquakes. The Feed the Future North project is designed to do just that. It will help Haitians put in place local systems and infrastructure to help small farmers and the overall agribusiness to be successful."

"The project will also unleash the potential of some excellent farming areas," White said. FTFN will cover six watersheds in the North and Northeast departments: Limb岢, Haut du Cap, Grande Rivière du Nord, Trou du Nord, Marion and Jassa.

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