HOUSTON — Some 4,500 Haitian farmers without the means to buy seed will now be planting new corn crops, and just in time.
A Texas-based charity is distributing seed corn throughout rural Haiti to stem growing concern of a local food crisis and support agriculture in an economy struggling to find its footing. Planting season ends this month.
“Talk about great timing,” says Royce Rex of Global Aid Partnership, who just returned from Haiti organizing the shipment.
“We knew people were leaving Port Au Prince for the countryside, and food there was short. Then we received this seed donation. It was perfect.”
For local farmers, the seed means they’ll be able to feed their families and have a cash crop to sell. Many have taken in family from Port Au Prince and are feeding more people with less income.
Farmers who did have money to buy seed often found none for sale, since January’s earthquake kept many Haitian wholesalers from importing seed earlier in the season.
“Getting this corn is a big break for them,” Royce says, “and it fits right in with the big picture of getting Haiti back on her feet.” Generally about 40 percent of Haiti’s food supply is produced locally, a number Rex and others would like to see grow.
The corn is part of 75 tons of earthquake relief distributed so far by Rex’s organization. The two-week seed distribution should wrap up this week, with the bulk of it going to villages surrounding Cazale and some to fertile Jacmel.
“This project strengthens these rural areas to accommodate new growth, which is key,” Rex says. “For the nation to recover, aid must be sustainable. It has to support local industry, not squelch it. Sure, these areas have the greatest needs, but they also hold the greatest promise for Haitians looking to build a new life.”
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