Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. Three quarters of Haitians live on less than US$2 per day and half of the population earns less than US$1 per day. Access to education is low, with illiteracy rates at 49%. Nationally, 6.7 million people (out of a population of about 10 million) are considered food insecure, and over half of the food consumed is imported - including more than 80% of the rice.
One third of newborn babies are born underweight; 5-10% of children suffer from acute malnutrition; 23.4% of children suffer from chronic malnutrition; and 58 % of women 15-49 and two thirds of children under 5 are affected by anemia. Seventy-two percent of children aged 6-12 in rural areas also suffer from iodine deficiency and 32 percent of school-age children are infected by intestinal parasites.
For the last 3 years, WFP’s work in Haiti has entailed a multi-pronged strategy focused on supporting the Haitian government to find long-term solutions to hunger and malnutrition in the country, with the goal of increasing food security and strengthening resilience by providing nutritional safety nets for the most vulnerable and supporting local markets across the country. Working with the government, local authorities, UN and NGO partners, WFP is implementing programmes to provide food assistance to 1.7 million Haitians.
In response to the on-going food crisis, the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture has planned measures to support farmers to rehabilitate their lands and irrigation infrastructure including improved access to seeds and fertilizers. To support this plan, WFP has developed a number of projects involving up to 225,000 beneficiaries through a combination of agricultural rehabilitation and watershed protection providing employment, incomes and improved food security. WFP urgently needs US$18 million to continue critical projects in Haiti designed to help reinforce resilience, provide essential income support and combat malnutrition.