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Transition: Promodev offers a profile of the person who should be the Minister of Agriculture in Haiti

  • June 9, 2024
  • 9 Min
  • 6

By the organization Promotion for Development (Promodev)

Submitted to AlterPresse on June 8, 2024

The Republic of Haiti faces a persistent food crisis, which threatens the survival and health of its population.

Chronic hunger is a reality for many Haitians. It is exacerbated by the disappearance of agricultural farms, the dysfunction of the structures of the Ministry of Agriculture and the alarming state of irrigation and drainage infrastructure. Agricultural inputs are in short supply and crop and livestock systems are invaded by pests and diseases. In this context, the country’s food sovereignty is almost non-existent.

To overcome these challenges, Haiti needs a person, holder of the Ministry of Agriculture, competent, experienced and morally integrity.

This article describes the ideal profile of this person, called to become holder of the Ministry of Agriculture, taking into account the emergencies and specific needs of the agricultural sector in Haiti.

Multiple causes of the food crisis in Haiti

The food crisis in Haiti is one of the most serious in the world. The causes are multiple: poverty, political instability, natural disasters and weak agricultural infrastructure.

The disappearance of agricultural farms is a worrying phenomenon, which reduces national agricultural production and increases dependence on food imports. The structures of the Ministry of Agriculture, supposed to support and regulate the sector, are dysfunctional. Which makes the situation worse.

Poor condition of irrigation and drainage infrastructure affects agricultural land productivity

Irrigation and drainage infrastructure in Haiti is in a deplorable state. This directly affects the productivity of agricultural land, limiting the ability of farmers to grow produce efficiently.

The lack of agricultural inputs, such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, makes the situation even more critical. Crop and livestock systems are invaded by pests and diseases. This reduces yields and jeopardizes food security.

Food sovereignty practically non-existent in Haiti

Haiti’s food sovereignty is virtually non-existent.

Haiti relies heavily on imports to feed its population. This dependence exposes the country to fluctuations in global prices and food shortages in the event of disruptions in international supplies.

A solid strategy to strengthen the agricultural sector is therefore essential to improve Haiti’s food sovereignty.

Proposed profile of the person, who should be holder of the Ministry of Agriculture

Faced with these challenges, it is imperative to appoint a person who has the following qualities to the Ministry of Agriculture:

a) Skill and expertise. The new person, holder of the Ministry of Agriculture, must be a highly qualified agricultural engineer, with solid academic training and significant practical experience in the agricultural sector. She/he must be able to understand the complexities of the Haitian agricultural system and propose innovative and effective solutions to strengthen agricultural production and food security;

b) Integrity and ethics. It is crucial that this person be a person of integrity, without scandals or controversies. Transparency and ethics in the management of the Ministry of Agriculture are essential to regain the trust of farmers and citizens. This person must be a model of morality and good governance;

c) Commitment to the peasantry. This person must have a deep sense of belonging to the agricultural sector and a sincere commitment to the Haitian peasantry. It must have a history of collaboration with producers, agricultural entrepreneurs, and agricultural professionals. This commitment guarantees that he/she will understand and defend the interests of farmers;

d) Participatory approach. It is essential that the process of selecting the person to hold the Ministry of Agriculture is inclusive and participatory. Farmers’ organizations, civil society structures and community leaders must be consulted to ensure that the choice of person to hold the Ministry of Agriculture reflects the needs and aspirations of farmers in Haiti. A participatory approach will strengthen its legitimacy and facilitate the acceptance and implementation of agricultural policies.

Non-profit organization dedicated to promoting agricultural and rural development in Haiti, ALLO AGRO / Promodev observed that the process of designating the person holding the Ministry of Agriculture did not include the necessary consultations with the parties key stakeholders.

ALLO AGRO / Promodev recommends that decision-makers analyze the severity of the food crisis and the level of vulnerability of rural communities. It is crucial to prioritize competence, morals and ethics in the choice of the person who will hold the Ministry of Agriculture.

Decision-makers must pay particular attention to the urgency of the agricultural sector and put the interests of farmers ahead of political considerations.

The appointment of a responsible, non-political technician is essential to implement effective and sustainable agricultural policies.

ALLO AGRO / Promodev urges decision-makers to abandon traditional political approaches, which treat ministerial appointments as a distribution of power.

It is time to prioritize competence, morality and ethics, to ensure that the person, who will hold the Ministry of Agriculture, can meet the challenges facing the sector.

The food crisis in Haiti requires urgent and effective intervention.

The choice of a new person, holder of the Ministry of Agriculture, competent, honest and committed, is fundamental to put in place a solid structure and contribute to the strengthening of the agricultural sector.

By following the recommendations of ALLO AGRO / Promodev and adopting a participatory approach centered on the needs of farmers, Haiti can hope to improve its food sovereignty and ensure a better future for its population.

Talot BERTRAND, engineer agronomist

Specialist in Environmental Education

Secretary General of Promodev

E-mail: [email protected]