Haiti’s Martelly Continues Agriculture Push, With Help from Venezuela

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - August 7, 2012

Above: Haiti President Michel Martelly in Timonette (Photo: OP Haiti)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti is continuing its drive to promote the growth of agriculture in the country.

The latest move came Monday as Haiti President Michel Martelly visited the Artibonite Valley to open the new Community Centre Mill of Timonette.

Martelly was joined by a delegation including Venezuelan Ambassador to Haiti Pedro Antonio Canino Gonzalez and Agriculture Minister Jacques Thomas to open the milll centre, which includes three rice mills, a dozen tractors and other agricultural equipment.

The mill is part of a project led by the Artibonite Valley Authority (ODVA) to build 12 simialr centres in the region.

Timonette, Desdunes and Verrettes are the first three beneficiaries of the project. There is already reportedly funding to built five more centres, with $9 million coming from Venezuela’s PetroCaribe programme.

Local farmers in Timonette also received 1,5000 bags of fertilizer at discounted prices as part of the programme, along with more than 9,000 free agricultural tools.

“[Haiti] can count on the cooperation of Venezuela,” Canino said.

Martelly asked the Venezuelan envoy to convey his “thanks” to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan people for what he called “frank cooperation” between the two countries.

According to government figures, Haiti’s Artibonite Valley at one time produced 125,000 tonnes of rice per year. That number dropped to 65,000 tonnes in 2004, although it recently increased to 90,000.

Martelly said that number was still insufficient, however, given that Haiti imports approximately 350,000 tonnes of rice each year.

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