World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


Haiti's Food Crisis Threatens Stability & Progress

Haiti's Food Crisis: A Threat to Stability and Progress

Though it once had a booming tourism industry, the poorest nation in the Americas sees few visitors today. Haiti's negative image as a criminal haven has kept all but a few visitors away from the impoverished island nation despite UN data that suggests Haiti is no more dangerous than any other Latin American country. In fact, the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince is no more violent than any other large city. Last year, for example, the UN recorded nine times as many homicides in Jamaica than in Haiti. Nevertheless, even the advances made toward security in Haiti by the UN peacekeeping mission, MINUSTAH, have not yet entirely stabilized the country. The modest progress may soon be undone by the food crisis that, in recent months, has hit Haiti extremely hard.

Lack of access to food at an affordable price and slowed production have caused riots and protests in many Latin American countries, including large agricultural-producing states such as Mexico and Argentina. Meanwhile, in Haiti, where eighty percent of the population already lives on less than two US dollars per day (mainly from overseas contributors), some survive by eating mud cakes made of clay and vegetable oil. As a result, many Haitians attempt to flee to Florida on exceedingly dangerous boat voyages of up to 500 miles that have cost several thousand lives. This has created an international issue, and the U.S. Coast Guard has had to up its vigilance even further.

In May, the U.S. created a food task force comprised of USAID and U.S. State Department officials focused on income-generating programs to enable Haiti's poor to feed themselves. USAID announced an increase in emergency funds to Haiti, bringing the total to US$45 million. In addition to providing immediate relief to Haitians, the aid will assist in long-term "Food for Work" projects. In return for food, Haitians will rebuild roads and irrigation systems and improve land-use practices to boost crop production. These projects will both feed the hungry and expand much-needed infrastructure.

A major riot in April over high food prices led to several deaths and the forced resignation of Haiti's prime minister, Jacques-Édouard Alexis. Haitian lawmakers have since rejected both President René Préval's nominees for prime minister. But there may be hope for Haiti yet; President Préval announced the nomination of economist Michèle Duvivier Pierre-Louis for prime minister, whose appointment could provide much-needed stability to the country. Additionally, the IMF has approved further aid to help the nation cope with its soaring food and fuel prices, and the World Bank has allocated a grant of US$10 million. However, while the international aid may be a short-term solution to the food crisis in Haiti, it cannot guarantee increased stability in the long run. The Haitian government must appoint a new prime minister to ensure that hard-earned efforts being made toward stability and progress are not in vain.

This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Emily Dunn

June 25th, 2008

The Council on Hemispheric Affairs, founded in 1975, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, tax-exempt research and information organization. It has been described on the Senate floor as being "one of the nation's most respected bodies of scholars and policy makers." For more information, please see our web page at


Latest World News | Top World News | World Digest | Archives | RSS

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>


  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC