In a nation reliant on imports and international aid, craft distillers in Léogâne are rightfully proud that they are boosting the economy in that region. But they’re faced with challenges that include the lower costs of imported alcoholic beverages and a shrinking amount of land for sugarcane farming.
Haitian rice farmers have long suffered because of imported grain that can cost consumers less than half as much as domestic crops. But a government program that begun last year is attempting to establish these farmers as the chief providers for the nation, by reviving production and restoring irrigation systems.
In the midst of a food shortage, Haiti’s government is drafting plans and implementing new policies to support the country’s large population of farmers. But the farmers, who struggle to maintain their crops with outdated technology and the threat of natural disaster, say the effort isn’t enough.
Hurricanes, floods and a long drought have destroyed crops and livestock in recent years, devouring the profits and resources of many of Haiti’s 1 million small farmers. Along with deforestation, these extreme weather events have disrupted efforts to help farmers adapt to a changing climate.