Above: Haiti First Lady Sophia Martelly
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Haiti First Lady Sophia Martelly led a meeting this week to discuss the United States Agency for International Development’s food voucher progarmme in the country.
The programme, which was first launched in Grand’Anse in January 2012, has recently been revised and scaled, according to Martelly.
The talks included Social Affairs Minister Charles Jean-Jacques, Minister Delegate for the Promotion of the Peasantry Mimose Felix, Klaus Eberwein, CEO of Haiti’s Fund for Economic and Social Assistance, and members of a delegation from USAID led by Dina Esposito, director of the office of USAID’s Food for Peace programme.
Martelly thanked Esposito and USAID for taking into consideration the recommendations of Haiti’s Commission for the Fight Against Hunger and Malnutrition.
The First Lady has been pushing a fight to end hunger in Haiti (to learn more, see Caribbean Journal’s interview with Martelly from 2012).
The programme is a partnership between Haiti’s Ministry of Social Affairs and USAID. The vouchers include grants, cash or vouchers for local or regional procurement of food.
Martelly said the project “complemented” existing initiatives currently being implemented by the government, including those aimed at boosting local food production.
Haiti’s local food production was crippled by Hurricane Sandy, which reportedly destroyed 70 percent of the country’s crops.
The overall cost of the USAID programme is $80 million, at a rate of $20 million per year for four years, according to Haiti’s government.