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Adding value to local products: An alternative approach to nutrition security

Haiti Development Briefing

Sustainable development and the role of the agricultural sector are hot topics at the moment. Agriculture remains a strategic sector with the ability to contribute to social stability, improve food security and increase national economic growth. An important contributor to the economy, agriculture accounts for about 25% of the Gross Domestic Product. With a little over one million farms across the country, agriculture represents the main source of income in rural areas, occupies about 60% of the labour force and provides, according to the National Coordination for Food Security (CNSA), 50% of food (2011), however the exact figure is difficult to obtain. The main crops are coffee, cocoa, rice, sugar cane, sisal, beans, maize and sorghum. The principle export products are coffee, cocoa, sugar cane, sisal and fruits (especially mangoes).

However, in 2012 2012, Haiti imported approximately USD$ 522,97 million of food (BRH, 2012). It was noted that approximately 70% of food consumed was imported. The trend is towards an increase in imports further compromising the level of self-sufficiency. Therefore, it is advisable for the Government, development agencies and other stakeholders to agree to support the agricultural and rural sectors to improve productivity, profitability, competitiveness and attractiveness of the sector.

Agricultural production is insufficient to meet the growing needs of the population. As a result, there is a constant upward trend in the volume of food products imported rising from 44% of the food supply in 2010 to 46% in 2011

The sector is characterized by low productivity, low competitiveness and low value creation, and therefore generates low income producer level. 88% of people living in rural areas are below the poverty line and 77% people experiencing food insecurity are found in rural areas. According to figures for the 2000-2001 fiscal year and estimates by the Bank of the Republic of Haiti for the fiscal year 2010-2011, the added value of primary products decreased by approximately 3.6% from of 3469 million Gourdes in 2000-2001 to 3,344 million Gourdes in 2010-2011 (base 1986-87).

It is against this backdrop that PROMODEV and CTA have organised the second Development Briefing in Haiti taking place on 2nd July 2013.

The Briefing aims to contribute to the promotion of rural development in Haiti through the initiation of an integrated farming system.

PROMODEV expects that this Briefing will help to enhance understanding of the issues in the agricultural sector in the country; promote dialogue to possible solutions to the crisis of Haitian agriculture; raise awareness of the major challenges for strengthening local production; increase the exchange of information and expertise on proven success in the field of food security; and facilitate networking between development partners.

The information provided before, during and after the Briefing in Haiti will be published on blogs briefings: http://bruxellesbriefings.net ; http://haitibriefings.net and www.promodev.ht. A summary report and a reader will be published shortly after the meeting.

Follow the Briefing live online.

Photo: ACDI-CIDA/Roger LeMoyne