Helping Haiti’s Farmers
Re “Already Desperate, Haitian Farmers Are Left Hopeless After Storm” (news article, Nov. 18):
As you point out, the devastation of Haitian agriculture by drought, storms and floods comes on top of years of neglect of the rural areas. Despite the importance of agriculture as an employer and a contributor to the overall economy, both the Haitian government and the international community have not made it a priority until quite recently.
It is not just a matter of more investment, as imperative as that is. The Haitian government needs to ensure a coordinated approach, so that all actors engaged in agricultural development are working to advance a coherent strategy.
The government and aid donors must also consult much more closely with Haiti’s farmers, including female farmers, on the design and implementation of rural development activities. Without these crucial considerations, farmers will be repeatedly vulnerable to natural disaster, and Haiti’s most promising industry will never thrive.
Country Director, Oxfam America
Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Nov. 19, 2012