Haiti Recovery: “We Can Grow Our Own Chickens”

“We can grow our own chickens,” Barjon said, and she was not joking as she faced the audience of mostly white males. Haiti imports some 9 million eggs A DAY, when the country is capable of producing its own food supply. Lending has been a problem and micro-loans are a decidedly weak link. $2,500 will set up a roadside stand selling Coca Cola and candy, but will not support the smallest agri-business or retrofit the rusting and dilapidated sugar cane grinding facilities. Pulling no punches, Barjon laid it out: 60% of the Haitian work force is in agriculture. Food security is a top priority and it will serve to put an end to Haiti importing much of what it can produce at home.

Sugar is a huge resource, but unless there is money to keep the mills in operation and unless the US sugar cane industry releases its stranglehold on imports, Haiti will never resume its annual production capability of 250,000 metric tons of raw sugar. This translates into $100 million a year. This is not a new story. If she were alive, you might ask Hawaii’s dethroned queen Liliuokalini what happens when colonial interests destroy a society. These issues were paramount before the January earthquake, which took up to 300,000 lives and counting. Sugar, rice, and poultry imports represent 50% of the Haitian trade deficit. via LA Progressive



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