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#2099: Where are the numbers? Heinl rejoins free trade discussion. (fwd)


The Artibonite has shimmered like an oasis in the middle of a desert as the 
solution for so many problems. Has anyone crunched the numbers? How many 
hectares are under cultivation? How many could be? What are current yields? 
Using more efficient techniques, what could they be? Haiti is one of the most 
"studied" countries in the world (starting with one of the U.N.'s pilot 
studies in 1948), and there is no shortage of Haitian Agronomists (starting 
in the Palais National). Those numbers must be somewhere.

My question derived from the free trade debate. That debate remains just that 
though if the reality is that in the near or medium term Haiti cannot feed 
itself, either because the population is, in absolute terms,  too great in 
relation to the arable land
or because the societal barriers (reconsolidation of plots that were first 
distributed by Petion into more efficient units/a government able to work as 
one for the common good/ a society with some degree of consensus on what the 
"common good" is) are too great.

This issue is terribly emotional. A nation's ability to feed itself goes to 
the heart of its independence, and its perceptions of itself and its 
security. That is why agricultural issues are so thorny between the E.U. and 
U.S. First, though, can we have an agreed set of first principles?