Small scale farmers and agricultural workers are among the most vulnerable populations in Haiti. They have little or no access to productive land, infrastructure, credit, or markets. Since the January 2010 earthquake, the dependence on food hand-outs has become a serious problem for both urban and rural populations, hence the need to strengthen local food production and avoid further migration to the capital city.
The SJF agreed in 2013 to fund the the two-year program for the socio-economic improvement of Haitian farmers through the Centre for International Workers Solidarity (CISO). Thanks to matching funds from the Quebec government, CISO assists the Karl Lévêque Cultural Institute (ICKL) to train and support networks of impoverished farmers in building a democracy where employment, housing, education, literacy, and health care are available to everyone. The Institute has been supporting small scale farmers for several years to develop their social or solidarity economy through collective projects related to agricultural and animal husbandry.
It is imperative that local produce be used and transformed in the process to ensure less dependency on food imports, more support for local producers and an improvement in nutrition and living conditions for the local population. The increased participation of women in production and management and respect for the environment are two aspects of the projects necessary for long term viability.