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Agricultural challenges and opportunities for Haiti's reconstruction

Even before the devastating January 2010 earthquake, Haiti was one of the poorest and most food-insecure countries on earth. A majority of Haitians live in rural areas and depend on agricultural livelihoods, but neither the government nor the international community has paid sufficient attention to agriculture, leaving the countryside increasingly marginalized.

Agriculture must have a central place in post-earthquake reconstruction, with an emphasis on improving small-scale farmers’ access to resources, so as to boost their incomes and productivity, particularly with regard to staple food crops. The Haitian government has devised a comprehensive agricultural reconstruction plan. Donors need to quickly provide adequate resources to implement the plan, and should ensure greater coherence between their development assistance and trade policies. Increased attention to agriculture is vital to helping the Haitian people achieve their short- and long-term reconstruction goals.

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