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With hunger rising in Haiti, 300 grassroots leaders from the People’s Organization for the Development of Northeast Haiti (OPODNE) gathered in August 2022 to launch a campaign to fight hunger by supporting local Haitian farmers. Dozens of mayors, civic, religious, and community leaders signed onto OPODNE’s LET’S PLANT TODAY SO WE CAN FEED OURSELVES TOMORROW platform, which calls for providing farmer cooperatives with seeds, tools, irrigation, and technical assistance to adapt to climate change, so Haitians can feed themselves rather than being dependent on imported food.
Today, more than 5 million Haitians are going hungry because they can’t afford the price of imported food, while the land stays fallow. From March to May 2022, OPODNE surveyed 4,000 farmers in 22 localities about their experience and needs. From this listening process, OPODNE found that the most pressing issues are the inability to buy seeds, fertilizers, lack of water, and need for tools to make the land worthwhile to cultivate.
OPODNE launched its campaign, LET’S PLANT TODAY SO WE CAN FEED OURSELVES TOMORROW in August 2022 to organize stronger farmer cooperatives in communities across Northeast Haiti and equip local farmers with high-quality seeds, affordable tools, irrigation, and technical assistance from agronomist to help them adapt crops to climate change. With support from faith communities in the U.S., OPODNE is pressing USAID and foreign contractors in Haiti to change their approach to agriculture and hunger relief, to work through local farmers.
While OPODNE leaders are determined to get the government to work for ordinary people, they also used their August 2022 General Assembly to model and celebrate what accountable leadership looks like. In addition to signing the covenant, a team of leaders elected in each of 22 communities took an oath to serve their community, sang the national anthem, broke bread, and united in song.
Together OPODNE grassroots leaders are demonstrating the change Haiti urgently needs.