Food security and sovereignty

Earthquake in Haiti – Looking back on 5 years of action

According to Guerlande Agella, a facilitator with the women’s group Fanm Deside: “Food sovereignty is to be able to produce our own food, with our own means and techniques, in order to feed ourselves.”

Food security and food sovereignty were already central components of Development and Peace’s program in Haiti well before the earthquake of January 12, 2010. After the earthquake, food security became a growing concern, since most agricultural activities were massively disrupted, and many people left areas affected by the earthquake to resettle in rural areas.

Thousands of peasant families were able to resume their agricultural activities and counteract the negative impacts of the huge quantities of humanitarian assistance that arrived after the earthquake, which as a consequence weakened local agriculture. With the help of our partners, these peasants were able to be equipped to cope with the inflation of prices on the domestic market.

Thanks to the activities of our partners, jobs were created, and peasant families increased and improved their agricultural production, diversified their sources of income and guaranteed better nutrition for their children. These activities were carried out while respecting ecological equilibrium and biodiversity.

After the earthquake, at least 1,500 families left Port-au-Prince to settle in Hinche, in the centre of the country, and in the surrounding area. In the last five years, Development and Peace has strengthened its support to the Mouvement Paysan Papaye (MPP), a peasant association and long-term partner in this region.

“After the earthquake, people were panicking. They had no idea where they were going, they just got into the first vehicle they found and left,” says Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, founder of the Mouvement Paysan Papaye.

Since 2010, thousands of peasant families have participated in MPP’s activities. Using a gardening technique which allows plants to grow inside used tires, families can now produce fresh and healthy vegetables for their own consumption and even generate a surplus to be sold at local markets.

Virginia Augustin, a member of MPP, proudly shows off her garden: “I did everything myself!” She grows tomatoes, cabbage and peppers, which she planted herself in the 10 tires supplied by the MPP.

“We really want to build a new Haiti, which will make people want to come and live here. And that’s why we are proud to mentor the peasants, who represents 65% to 80% of the people living in the country,” exclaims Vilgar Jacques, animator with the Mouvement Paysan Papaye.