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Home Publications Blogs Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch Exodus From PaP Puts Pressure on Rural Communities

Exodus From PaP Puts Pressure on Rural Communities

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010 09:47
The Los Angeles Times reports on the stress that the exodus of hundreds of thousands of Haitians from Port-au-Prince has put on rural communities. This is especially significant with the planting season fast approaching and supplies hard to come by and money even tighter than usual. The Times reports:
Villagers are near the breaking point as they try to accommodate tens of thousands of displaced city dwellers just when they would be putting their precious resources into preparing for planting. In desperation, some have resorted to eating their meager seed stocks or killing their chickens and goats to feed the influx, rather than keeping them to sell.

Fertilizer is expensive and seeds for cereal crops are in short supply because of damage to the seaport in the capital and wary buying by wholesalers. Farming areas southwest of Port-au-Prince were also devastated by the 7.0 quake, which ruined whole towns, such as Leogane, near the epicenter, and damaged vital irrigation channels.
The UN's most recent update reports that:
The number of people who have left Port-au-Prince for outlying departments has increased to 597,801 people from the previous figure of 511,405. The increase in figures mainly relates to Grand-Anse and Sud departments, where an additional 21,000 and 63,000 people, respectively, have been registered.
The FAO has recently warned that of the $23 million earmarked for the agricultural sector of the original $575 million flash appeal, only around 8% has been funded.

One plan for dealing with the increased stress in rural communities is being implemented by Partners in Health with the agricultural wing of Zanmi Lasante, PiH's partner organization in Haiti. As PiH notes:
PIH/ZL plans to help relieve the looming food crisis by pushing up this season’s first harvest date. The goal is to have a significant yield of crops in three months – several weeks earlier than a normal growing season. Zanmi Agrikol (ZA), the agricultural arm of ZL, will be in charge of the initiative.

In order to do this, the team has come up with a two-phase plan.

During phase one, the team identified 300 acres of fallow farmland where it has already begun plowing fields and planting a crop of precocious (fast growing) corn. The goal is to get food to the local community as soon as possible.
To read more about the plan, read the whole article here.

Tags: agriculture | fao | food crisis | partners in health | planting season | zanmi agrikol

 

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