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HAITI/ Agriculture emerging after the earthquake

June Sat 02, 2012

Gardens in Haiti  Gardens in Haiti

Even the Haitian national anthem says: "bêchons joyeux", "toiling joyfully". Haiti is a rural land that does not forget its farming origins even after decades of emigration from the countryside to the cities.

In Haiti, only recently has the long tradition of Presidents who were agronomists been broken. A few years ago, the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister and also a large part of the Parliament were agronomists. The agronomist in Haiti is the most respected person in the community, after the priest. The agronomist is the person who "makes the earth fruitful," and gives food to the population. Putting an agronomist in charge of an initiative largely guarantees its success.

However, in recent times few have really bet on the future of agriculture in Haiti, a land plagued by political instability and relentlessly afflicted with emergencies. From emergency to emergency, it is difficult to support a forward-looking agricultural development, open to the new demands of today's world. It is difficult to bet on results in the medium and long term in a country that struggles to shape its immediate future.

However, there are still those who decide to be daring and, unexpectedly, these efforts are now supported by equally brave new government programs. AVSI has been working in southern Haiti for over twelve years now, with development projects to accompany a poor but proud community, vulnerable but with great wealth. These initiatives have always focused on agricultural development, food security, environmental protection, drinking water and the fight against malnutrition. Their main partner from the beginning in the realization of these multi-sectorial interventions is the Agronomy Department of the Notre Dame Catholic University of Haiti, which is associated with the direction of the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture.

This partnership was strengthened in the aftermath of the tragic earthquake of January 12, 2010, with a heartfelt appeal to supporters to help with the many needs of the emergency, given on the basis of the development schemes of existing interventions, to avoid flattening an already vulnerable situation with completely new interventions.

The positive response of many donors gave birth to a complex and composite project called Aquaplus in 2012. This project, financed mainly by Rotary International and supported and sponsored by the 2015 Expo in Milan, with the collaboration of the University of Milan and the Movement to Fight World Hunger, is mainly implemented by AVSI with the support of its local partner, the University of Notre Dame in Haiti.



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