FAO: Haiti was hit by 3 consecutive droughts made worse by ElNino

Posted by hougansydney.com on Thursday, September 15, 2016 Under: Agriculture
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During the last three years, Haiti has been hit by severe climatic disturbances characterized by 
repeated episodes of drought followed by erratic rainfall. In 2015, the impact of the El Niño phenomenon has worsened the food security and nutrition situation and it is expected that several communes in the Northwest, Southeast and Central Plateau remain in Phase 3 (crisis) of the
Integrated Food Security Phase classification.

Regarding the agriculture sector, prolonged drought 
has led to a reduction of more than 50 percent of crop production for the 2015 main cropping season
(spring) and has affected the other cropping seasons (summer and winter). As a result, food imports have increased and current food price levels remain high for imported staples such as maize meal and beans. To cope with high prices, people are substituting the consumption of these staple commodities for starchy roots and tubers, reducing purchases and/or increasing purchases on credit.

 As the Haitian currency, the Haitian gourde, has continued to lose value against the United States dollar, prices of imported food have also risen sharply in local markets. This combination of factors has triggered the current food insecurity and nutrition crisis.

The resilience of agricultural livelihoods is key to making sustainable development a reality. People with resilient livelihoods are better able to prevent and reduce the impact of disasters on their lives. Over the past years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has strengthened the resilience of farming families in Haiti through a range of programmes, including the identification and multiplication of food crop varieties that are more resistant to drought and irregular rains. This was possible by selecting and testing best practices together with local farmers to develop more sustainable production systems.

Though such programmes take time to have widespread and deep impact, today FAO is better prepared to deal with crises in Haiti, and much of the response needs ‒ seeds and planting material ‒ can be procured within the country. The response will therefore be able to provide locally grown and tested varieties of crops that are more resistant to drought and irregular rains, reducing the vulnerability of farming families to such phenomena.

 Today, there is a much closer interaction between humanitarian emergency response and medium-term development needs that will contribute to reduce the frequency and severity of food insecurity and nutrition crises in Haiti.

FAO will follow a flexible and multidimensional operational strategy to
address immediate and medium-term needs in order to facilitate rapid increases in food availability and access, and protect the overall food production capacity in the country as well as the livelihoods of affected populations.

FAO requests USD 7.9 million to support 35.000 vulnerable households (175 000 people). Planned activities will focus on the production and distribution of quality seeds, rehabilitation of water supply and collection systems, support to animal production and fodder banks, capacity development and
trainings on good practices and technologies. 

Full report available here

Aloys Nizigiyimana
FAO Representative ad interim, Haiti

In : Agriculture