My focus today is on the island nation in our hemisphere ... Haiti.
Rising food and fuel costs have left the most vulnerable populations hungry. The recent rioting in Haiti speaks to the devastating impact of the global food crisis on the poor and hungry. Already facing food shortages and eating mud cakes, the people of Haiti have been particularly susceptible to the skyrocketing prices. While rising prices mean less food for the hungry, a new face of hunger is emerging. Even where food is available, more and more people simply cannot afford it.
Hermite Joseph, a mother working in the markets of Port au Prince, told journalist Nick Whalen that her two kids "are like toothpicks. They're not getting enough nourishment. Before, if you had a dollar twenty-five cents, you could buy vegetables, some rice, 10 cents ofcharcoal and a little cooking oil. Right now, a little can of rice alone costs 65 cents, and is not good rice at all. Oil is 25 cents. Charcoal is 25 cents. With a dollar twenty-five, you can't even make a plate of rice for one child." [SOURCE]
One of the main causes of the food shortages in Haiti is agricultural policy in the United States. The U.S. and other international financial bodies destroy Haitian rice farmers to create a major market for the heavily subsidized rice from U.S. farmers. This is not the only cause of hunger in Haiti and other poor countries, but it is a major reason that Haiti, a country that was self-sufficient in rice-production 30-years ago, now has hungry families all across the island.
Haiti has become one of the very top importers of rice from the U.S. The U.S. Department of Agriculture 2008 numbers show Haiti is the third largest importer of US rice - at over 240,000 metric tons of rice. (One metric ton is 2200 pounds). Rice is a heavily subsidized business in America. Our government provided $11 billion in rice subsidies to American businesses from 1995 to 2006 . One producer alone, Riceland Foods located in Stuttgart, Arkansas, received over $500 million dollars in rice subsidies between 1995 and 2006. [SOURCE]
The people of Haiti ask us, "Am I Not Human?"
Drumbeats from CLNMike told us about the efforts of Wyclef Jean to raise $48 million in the next six months to combat the hunger crisis in Haiti.
- Anyone who wants to assert compassion can contribute to feeding programmes in Haiti.
- Anyone who stands for justice can join the fair trade movement.
- Anyone who wants action, not words from our politicians can call for the agricultural policies of developed countries to be reformed, to help combat world hunger.
- Anyone who believes in dignity can support long-term, sustainable agricultural development in Haiti.
Is there anything that you can do where you are with what you have? What say u?