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Urgent Call for USAID to Change its Approach to Agriculture in Haiti

Washington, DC – Prominent faith-based and humanitarian organizations are calling on Congress to change USAID’s approach to agriculture in Haiti to help local farmers adapt to drought and climate change. More than half of Haitians face hunger due to soaring imported food costs, a ten-year drought, and neglect of domestic small-scale farming by the Haitian government and USAID.

With Congress debating a new Farm bill and annual USAID appropriations, the Open Letter of Haitian Food Sovereignty asks Congress to use its legislative, appropriations, and oversight powers to change how USAID operates in Haiti “from market system reform to support for small-scale farmers” and to work through Haitian organizations rather than large foreign contractors. The letter makes seven recommendations, including:

  • Direct USAID to work with local regional government water and agriculture agencies and peasant and community organizations to develop a comprehensive water management plan to help Haitian farmers and communities adapt to a decade of drought.
  • Increase funding for Haitian-led peasant, farmer, and community-based organizations working to strengthen agriculture, through the Inter-American Foundation.
  • Direct USAID and USDA to support pilot programs to help small-scale farmers with irrigation, seed and tool banks, land reform, access to affordable micro-credit, and agronomists.
  • Direct U.S. agencies to maximize the amount of emergency food assistance to Haiti that is purchased locally and reject legislative proposals that would require that nonemergency food aid be spent on U.S. commodities.

On Thursday, September 21, as part of a National Day of Action to Support the Haitian People, leaders from Haitian diaspora and faith-based organizations will be discussing the letter’s recommendations with more than 100 offices of Members of Congress.


Signers include Amnesty International USA, Centre d’Agriculture Saint Barnabas Support Group Ltd., Faith in Action International, Faith in New Jersey, Faith in New York, Franciscan Action Network, Haiti H2O: Hope to Opportunity, Haitian Community Land Trust, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Organisation Peuple Œcuménique pour le Développement du Nord (OPODNO), Organisation Peuple Œcuménique pour le Développement du Nord-Est (OPODNE), Passionist Solidarity Network, Passionists International, Presbyterian Church (USA), Office of Public Witness , Quixote Center, Raising Haiti Foundation, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)

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