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#4148: Produce our own food/Food security aspect : A comment (fwd)
After having analyzed the question of food production and the environment for
a number of years, I have come to the following conclusions
1. Shirley Jean's observations are accurate and entirely appropriate (#4111);
2. Haiti's environment is so degraded that food production cannot hope to
increase without drastic measures by individuals, the government and the
private sector. More than 1500 ha of arable land are lost to erosion each
year and the remaining soils are being depleted by erosion and bad farming
techniques which ironnically are the only way peasants can survive; A major
environmental rehabilitation programme is an absolute necessarry.
3. Modern industrial agriculture could increase food production, but would
have a very negative impact on peasant society. Land would have to be
assembled in very large farms, while the average peasant farms less than i
ha. Peasants would have to be relocated and absorbed in other sectors, a
major political choic (Henry Christophe adopted this strategy.)
4. Peasants could produce highly marketable niche crops such as spices,
organic produce and tropical fruits which are highly sought after in
international markets. This would necessitate govt assistance.
5. One cannot be romantic or blindly nationalistic when people's lives are at
stake. Feeding Haiti's population is a serious problem especially
considering the fact that Haiti's natural resource base is not sufficient for
such a daunting task.
I believe that I made some of these comments before and hope that Corbetters
will search for real and practical solutions to Haiti's problems. Rhetoric
and abstract discussion have been one of the obstacles to Haiti's development
and political maturity.