Haiti, Japan Talk Food Security

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - December 6, 2012

Above: Haiti President Michel Martelly and Hideaki Domichi, vice president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti and Japan are eyeing increased cooperation in areas like the environment and food security, following talks in Tokyo Thursday.

Haiti President Michel Martelly, who is currently on a visit to Japan, met with Hideaki Domichi, the senior vice president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency to discuss areas of potential partnership, particularly in light of the damage caused to Haiti by a series of storms this summer.

Martelly said that with the passing of Sandy, Haiti grows increasingly vulnerable due to devastation.

“Each rainfall, even the most insignificant,” he said, “is a threat to the population.”

One area of common ground could be rice importation, with Haiti reportedly bringing in between 350,000 and 400,000 metric tonnes of rice each year from abroad, and almost 60 percent of its food products imported. That amounts to about $200 million each year, he said.

The United Nations has warned that up to 1.5 million people in Haiti could face food insecurity in 2013 without adequate help.

Martelly said that Japanese-Haitian cooperation must make food security a priority, and is seeking to benefit from Japan’s expertise in rice cultivation.

Also on Thursday, Haiti’s President met with the local Haitian community in Japan at Haiti’s Embassy in Tokyo, meeting about 50 people, mostly students.

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