Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Hopeful Future, The Food Crisis in Haiti

The Global North, the collection of affluent countries that generally do not suffer from poverty and hunger, tends to be very mercurial in its aid recipients. Just a month or so ago, the earthquake in Haiti dominated every news group and headline, but now the situation in Haiti is brushed aside to newsroom outskirts. The global community united in its efforts to help Haiti in its time of extreme need. While this is commendable and should be encouraged, the Germov/Williams reading, “World Hunger: Its Roots and Remedies” by Frances Moore Lappe stated the opinion that simply donating aid will not cure world hunger. Food donations only mitigate the problem, whereas the deeper causes of poverty and hunger are not tackled. By dealing with the root causes, a permanent cure to the plague of poverty and hunger could finally be found.

Haiti, the poorest country of the western hemisphere, is in dire need to have its poverty issue addressed. Even though Haiti has some of the best farming soil in the Caribbean, in excess of 60% of food consumed by Haitians is imported, as detailed here and the following video. The videos also mention how the food crisis is even being used in political spats.

The reading with the example of Bolivia and Evo Morales gives an excellent outline on how an impoverished majority can rise up against a rich and powerful minority in order to ensure equal and fair distribution of power and rights. In a talk by Morales given below, he details how his government’s political policies are specifically tailored for his country’s needs, so that everyone is treated fairly and has their rights respected.

Amanda Leigh’s post on March 2nd, “Finding Hope in Corporations” is absolutely correct, that successes when dealing with poverty and hunger must be celebrated and emulated in order to spread this success.

As each new crisis emerges, the attention of the Global North is diverted from situation to situation. While the immediate needs are met, the long term issues surrounding the disaster are largely ignored. This tragic reality is especially exemplified with the crisis in Haiti. While the initial need for food, medicine and other supplies were met, the long term Haitian food crisis was left with no answer, as is detailed in this article. The Haitian farmers strongly desire the tools to be self sufficient, but in order to do so they need a helping hand to get them started. The article details how initial tools, fertilizer and seeds will be shipped to Haiti in order to create a self-supporting farming community, but the rainy season draws closer with each day, and the aid has not yet arrived. Agricultural support is especially under-supported since it requires such long term support, aid and man-power. The dire need of Haitian farmers but their unshakable resolve to work towards a better future is further detailed in this article.

I completely agree with Lappe that poverty and hunger should be abolished by attacking its root causes instead of just increasing foreign aid. Evo Morales is an inspirational beacon that the needs of the impoverished majority can be met and a Globally South country can independently work towards a better future. As a result, a permanent fix to poverty can be found. For all of this to occur, a ground-breaking leader and movement must intersect and keep the resolve and drive to change society. The way to form a proper movement is given here in an amusing fashion in the following video, but is nonetheless true.

It is understandable that the Global North changes its attention from crisis to crisis providing initial emergency aid, but there is a large requirement for continued programs and efforts in these disaster areas. An issue as devastating as hunger will not disappear overnight, or be satiated by a single meal. The proverb “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for life.” rings even truer.


  1. I think your analysis is right on target. Did you see President Preval's statement that long term food aid would be a threat to Haiti's economy?