One Year Later: How Far has Haiti Come?

It is almost one year since the devastating earthquake in Haiti that shook the global community.  Millions of dollars of aid has been given to the already poor nation, but has this been enough for Haiti to regain some sort of stability?
Many will argue that relief programs, such as USAID, have done their job and improved conditions for the victims of the earthquake.  However, is this really correct?  While USAID programs, run by the U.S. government, have made Haiti’s agriculture a major focus in the relief effort, it may be missing the point.  Giving money to farmers is a start, but the entire focus should be shifted to the heart of the problem: the fact that Haiti largely imports crops that it could easily furnish itself.  Eighty percent of Haiti’s export revenue goes to importing certain foods that domestically, it would get for much cheaper.  The answer is putting the funds in place where they help the nation to be self-sustaining, rather than depending on other global superpowers and thus entering a cycle of poverty.  While this is easier said than done, the first step is to understand that Haiti has greater potential to grow with self-reliance on domestic products.

By: Carolyn DeSiena

2 comments

  1. After the terrible earthquake in Haiti many countries and individuals reached out to give their support to the ailing nation. While the initial effects of the earthquake were devastating it is possible that Haiti could use international relief efforts more now than ever.

    In order to truly “rebuild” (infrastructure as well as the economy) Haiti needs create a way to become more self-sufficient. As Ms. DeSiena points out, Haiti imports many of the crops that it could grow domestically at a much cheaper price. Relief efforts should be focused on developing a stable economy in Haiti that would decrease the current poverty as well as dependency on other nations. If the people of Haiti can grow their own crops and employ Haitian citizens to farm the crops it could give a large boost to the Haitian economy. Creation of jobs and providing affordable crops are two very important elements in the development of a stable economy.

    It will be a very long time before Haiti can fully recover from the earthquake. It is imperative for people around the world to realize that the work in Haiti is truly just beginning.

  2. A large portion of Haiti’s population makes a living off of farming. It seems essential that USAID would therefore focus on this sector to attempt to rebuild Haiti after the devastating earthquake. Giving millions of dollars towards Haiti’s agriculture although necessary, may not be sufficient. This may improve the quality and quantity of crops and increase their exportation- which is crucial to the nation’s economic development, but there needs to be more emphasis on a decrease of imports. The money needs to be directed at Haiti growing its own crops that it is now importing. This emphasis would not only be a start to Haiti’s economic growth, but also help break its cycle of dependency.

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