PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The governments of Haiti and Vietnam are demonstrating that South-South cooperation can lead to the fruitful exchange of resources, technology and knowledge. A series of significant agreements signed in late December 2012 provide the framework for a novel form of long term cooperation that will allow Haiti to address food security, one of its key challenges.
The government of Haiti hopes that these agreements will enable Haiti to leapfrog development stages as it attempts to create a resilient agricultural production system. As 2013 rolled in, these agreements were already translating into concrete positive benefits including lower prices for rice, Haiti's key staple food.
According to Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, "The principal goal of the agreements we have signed with Vietnam is to find innovative ways to insure food security for all of our citizens." Lamothe's strategic plan identifies ways to mitigate the impact of natural disasters on Haiti's food supply and to reduce its reliance on the import of agricultural products such as rice. The Haitian government's goal is to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of food.
The Vietnamese experience is particularly relevant to Haiti which imports most of the rice its citizens consume. In the past thirty years this small Southeast Asian country has gone from facing periodic food shortages in the aftermath of the war with the United State and being a net importer of rice, to becoming the world's second largest exporter of rice.
Improvements came by increasing land under cultivation, relying on technology to improve seeds and mountain rice production techniques, and by depending on smallholders rather than on large farming estates. In 2011 Vietnam produced 40 million tons of rice a year, most of it grown on 7.2 million hectares by some 10 million farming households each cultivating between one half to one hectare.
Vietnam will provide Haiti with technical cooperation to address the production of rice and other agricultural products. It will send experts to help introduce a progressive system of mountain rice production that includes the mechanization of agriculture, soil erosion prevention techniques, and the introduction of drought resistance rice varieties.
The agreements include a few immediate benefits for Haiti. Vietnam will supply Haiti with 300,000 tons of rice annually, which will address periodic food shortages. As part of the new relationship with Vietnam's Vietell, the state owned mobile network company donated 400 tons of rice. As a result, Haitians are welcoming 2013 with the price of rice 33 percent lower than last year.
SOURCE Primature Haiti