Feed the Future Investment in Haiti: Implications for sustainable food security and poverty reduction

In 2009 the United States committed $3.5 billion to start the global Feed the Future Initiative to reduce poverty and increase agricultural production in resource-poor countries. The initiative emerged in response to the G8 L’Aquila Summit, during which global leaders met to address food insecurity around the world. Introduced in Haiti in 2011, the initiative brought an existing US Agency for International Development–funded watershed management project, the Watershed Initiative for National Natural Environmental Resources (WINNER), under the Feed the Future umbrella. This project became known as “Feed the Future West,” although implementers and participants continue to call it WINNER. A five-year, $127 million project, WINNER aims to reduce poverty by increasing agricultural production, raising incomes for smallholder farmers, and boosting the overall economy of Haiti.

As part of its GROW campaign, Oxfam America commissioned this research to assess US Feed the Future investments in Haiti, their impact in participating communities, and the contribution to sustainable agriculture. The research analyzes the WINNER project in terms of participation, empowerment of smallholder producers, promotion of sustainable development practices, and building local institutions’ capacity—key areas central to the project’s short-term success and long-term viability.

The study used qualitative research methods, including a literature review, focus group discussions, and semi-structured interviews with key informants, which were carried out between March and July 2013. The researchers conducted 12 focus group discussions in communities where the WINNER project has been implemented. The focus groups included men and women smallholder farmers who participate in WINNER-funded activities. The researchers also conducted 40 interviews in Haiti and Washington, DC, with representatives of Haitian civil society, local and national government officials, donor representatives, project implementers, and experts on Haitian development.

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