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Alexandre Petion and Haiti land reform

Alexandre Petion and Haiti land reform

Alexandre Petion has introduced a land reform following the independence of Haiti that many would agree has cost the country a great deal.

Christophe went to the north and Pétion took the southern Republic of Haiti. One major act by Alexandre Pétion was land redistribution. He seized commercial plantations from the rich and had the land redistributed to his supporters and the peasantry.

In the short term, that earned him lot of respect and appreciation by the beneficiaries. He earned the nickname Papa Bon-C"ur "good-hearted father" as a result.

The land seizures and redistribution ended up reducing the production of commodities for the export economy. As a result, most of the population became subsistence farmers. Exports and state revenue declined sharply.

A look at the present land ownership situation in Haiti would make one think about this original decision

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Replacement of native Haitian rice with cheaper US imports

Replacement of native Haitian rice with cheaper US imports

Something that both the Haitian government and President Bill Clinton come to regret. In 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton encouraged Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to drop all protective tariffs and allow US to export rice to Haiti.

This so called aids to Haiti does nothing to boost local food production capacity. In addition for a government to allow this without any long term plan to increase local production is irresponsible at least. This policy created a level of dependency and caused further decline in Haitian agriculture.

Is there any one looking out for the future of Haiti or is it just that everyone in a particular situation is trying to do what is best for themselves. Unfortunately, it's every man for himself.

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Haitian Farm Planting - Agriculture

Haitian Farm Planting - Agriculture

Here is a picture of a way the Haitian farmer usually works the land. It is not the most effective method however this method has been used in haiti for centuries.

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Haiti Receiving Food Aid instead of Agricultural Support

Haiti Receiving Food Aid instead of Agricultural Support

In the months following the 2010 earthquake, the US government has provided $140 million subsidy to US farmers, and USAID sent 90,000 metric tons American of crops to Haiti. Unquestionably, this was a necessity because it fed many. However, in some other senses, these are negatively affecting rural Haitians and farmers in a major way. Instead of receiving food aid if the international donors support Haiti's agricultural sector and provide food to those only in need and purchase the entire Haitian rice crop over the next two years or so, this may help Haiti to become more self-sufficient in agriculture. US food aid programs are practically designed to encourage food imports from US. Haitians are importing 80% of their rice consumption from US because it is cheaper to import than locally produce.

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