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Fast Fact on U.S. Government's Work in Haiti: Food Security

Fact Sheet
Office of the Haiti Special Coordinator
January 8, 2011


Even before the January 12, 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti , its people faced malnutrition and food insecurity, and were extremely vulnerable to any natural disaster that disrupted their ability to sustainably grow crops. Haiti was the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and ranked 148 out of 179 on the UN Human Development Index. Eighty percent of the population was under the official poverty line and one Haitian child out of every four children was chronically undernourished. While 60 percent of Haitians worked in agriculture, more than 50 percent of the food consumed in Haiti is imported. Immediately following the earthquake, the U.S. government worked with the Government of Haiti and the international community to ensure that millions of Haitians received food and water.

Focus: Reducing Vulnerability

The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, is working to reduce Haiti’s vulnerability to food crises and improve Haitians’ long-term health To date, USAID has provided $140.6 million in emergency food assistance through the World Food Program and Private Voluntary Organizations. USAID also provided partners with $47.5 million for food vouchers and short-term employment programs that will give households the ability to purchase food for their families and support the recovery of markets. Additionally, USAID is providing $35.5 million annually for longer term food assistance that targets very food insecure households with programs that increase their agricultural production and improve their health and nutrition.

Results: Improving Haiti’s Food Security

Our short- term interventions are working to keep Haitians healthy while we help Haiti improve its long-term food security.

  • USAID’s emergency food relief reached 4 million people in the first three months after the earthquake, the largest ever urban food distribution.
  • Targeted food aid is currently being distributed to approximately 1.6 million of Haiti’s most food-insecure, focusing on preventing malnutrition in children under two,; pregnant and lactating women; school children; orphans, HIV affected families and vulnerable people in institutions.
  • Food vouchers are being provided to 20,000 food-insecure households and 140,000 people are receiving employment through short-term cash and food-for-work programs.

Our long-term programs have been successful because of the interventions and farming techniques introduced through our programs last spring:

  • Yields in three different areas of the country increased production by 75 percent overall, including a 139 percent increase for sorghum and a 118 percent increase for corn.
  • Results from a rice cultivation trial in Haiti show yields that were on average 150-190 percent higher than the same varieties planted in a traditional manner.

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