MEASURES TO ENCOURAGE THE AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
(Haiti Libre) -
Hébert Docteur, the Minister of Agriculture lamented last week, that 25 years of agricultural policies of previous governments, have only encouraged the weakening of the agricultural sector. Citing as an example the importation of rice, which rose from $40 million in the 80s to nearly $200 million today [400,000 tons], due to a decision favoring the importation of rice, by a decrease of taxes of over 40%... Note that Haiti has become, after Japan and Mexico, the third largest rice importer in the world...!
"Imported rice, is an unfair competition compared to local rice product in a non-mechanized system. It is the role of the state to take appropriate decisions," indicated Stéphania Musset, Communications Officer for Oxfam America. Oxfam [since June 2011] and the National Federation of Rice Producers of Haiti (Fenaprih), have decided to support rice production to increase domestic production. To this end, "Oxfam will deliver by the end of April, 5 sorting machines and 3 tillers to each of the 7 unions of Racpaba [an association of rice producers in the Artibonite]," indicated the agronomist Love-Djemane Raymond, Assistant coordinator of the rice program.
The Minister of Agriculture is committed to taking all measures to encourage the Haitian producers. Among these provisions that we can mention: the establishment of a land bank to lower rates, a crop insurance with the help of Canada, the fight against smuggling of agricultural products with the Dominican Republic, and the liberalization of trade in fertilizers. On this last point, the Minister of Agriculture explained that subsidizing and controling the fertilizer, has become a responsibility too heavy for the Government, and that it intends in its new approach, entrusting this importation to the private sector, who will reduce the diversion of a portion of subsidized fertilizer, towards the Dominican Republic... Therefore, the ministry will not sell fertilizer, but rather will help farmers to find the fertilizer at better prices.