Aid or trade? The nefarious effects of U.S. policies in Haiti

Food aid from U.S., photo Ben Depp.jpg

Food aid from U.S., photo Ben Depp

By Haiti Grassroots Watch, Oct 10, 2013

U.S. aid and trade policies related to hunger and Haitian agriculture over the past three decades are incoherent and contradictory, at best, and have been correctly characterized as “disastrous” and “greed[y].”

While some U.S. government agencies say their programs have been meant to alleviate hunger and promote agricultural production, other programs have helped pry open Haiti’s market, creating millions of new consumers for U.S. agricultural products like rice, poultry, pork and other products while undermining local agricultural production and changing Haitian eating habits.

Because some 50% to 60% of the population still makes their living in the agricultural sector, these policies have had extremely negative effects on the economy at large. For example, a 2006 study from Christian Aid estimated that 831,900 people had been directly affected by the 1995 lowering of tariffs that once protected Haitian sugar, rice, and chicken.

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