Above: an irrigation channel in Haiti (IDB Photo/Paul Constance)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Haiti has received a $15 million grant from the Inter-American Development Bank to help modernize the country’s agricultural policies and institutions.
The grant will be complemented with a $7 million grant from the Haiti Reconstruction Fund.
Part of the reforms will include a push to strengthen Haiti’s Ministry of Agriculture to carry out its planning, programming and budgeting functions and to improve its management capacity.
Under the programme, the ministry will create a team of public procurement specialists to boost its capacity to absorb and administer financial resources provided by Haiti’s treasury and international donors.
The IDB is currently using grants to finance projects totaling more than $200 million in Haiti, including crop intensification, irrigation and farming technology, among others.
Haiti will also promote new laws to assign legal status to water user associations, enabling farmers to manage and maintain irrigation systems.
Over 1 million Haitian families subsist on farming, but agricultural productivity in the country has declined over the past few decades, with a reduction in the output of a number of crops, including bananas, coffee and rice.
The IDB is also helping Haiti on a related project aimed at improving land tenure security in the country’s rural areas, where 60 percent of Haiti’s population lives.
That plan aims to boost efforts to clarify property rights and identify public lands; by some estimates, nearly two-thirds of 1.5 million rural patches have no title.