On Saturday, the U.S. Department of State released a fact sheet on the work they have been doing to improve food security in Haiti following the devastating earthquake in January of 2010. While there is still incredibly depressing news being released since the disaster, there are some positive elements coming out in regard to food security, thanks to the work of USAID.
Prior to the earthquake, according to the report, eighty percent of the Haitian population was already below the poverty line, and one in every four children was, “chronically undernourished.” And though the majority of Haitians were working in agriculture, more than half of the food consumed in Haiti still had to be imported.
But in the three months after earthquake, USAID's emergency food relief found its way to 4 million people — “the largest ever urban food distribution.” Food is still being distributed to approximately 1.6 million of the most food insecure, such as children; pregnant and lactating women; and HIV affected families. In addition, there are food vouchers being distributed to 20,000 food-insecure households, and there are 140,000 people receiving short-term employment through food-for-work programs.
As for long-term prospects, programs put into place to teach farming techniques have already shown positive results. Three areas of the country have increased their production by 75 percent, and a rice cultivation trial has shown yields that were 150-190% higher than the same varieties planted with the previous techniques.
To donate money or goods, or to volunteer, visit the website for USAID's post-earthquake response.