This rapid assessment of the Haitian rice value chain was originally prepared in support of Oxfam America’s livelihoods program, to “develop options for a program to support small-scale rice producers so as to improve household income and enhance the country’s food security” (From the assignment terms of reference).
The overall state of the Haitian national rice value chain is poor, despite the substantial production potential in the country. Total rice production has not grown significantly over the past 40 years notwithstanding despite significant financial and technical assistance provided in some geographical areas. The market share of national rice has shrunk dramatically in competition with overly inexpensive imported US commercial and food aid rice, which has become dominant in national diets, increasing the risk of long-term food insecurity.
One of the most important factors in creating this situation is incoherent governmental agricultural sector and national trade policies. One can ask whether the main thrust of these Haitian policies is to promote or punish national production. In addition, poorly functioning services from the government rural development agency for the Artibonite Valley, the Organisation pour le Développement de la Vallée de l’Artibonite (ODVA, which is in desperate need of restructuring), coupled with high land rents and unclear fertilizer policy with “quota problems,” have hampered the development of the value chain.
A second major factor is that the filière (value chain) is not well organized or coordinated on a nationwide basis. There has been no effective “buy local” campaign led by national political authorities. This omission may not be surprising given the ambivalence of national policy on whether to make national rice production a food security priority.