The Inter-American Development Bank is accelerating efforts to modernize Haiti’s economy via a $55 million grant.
The program’s chief aim is to boost farm productivity and improve the use of natural resources thanks to the deployment of “sustainable agricultural and agroforestry technologies,” the institution said.
Other contributors to the scheme include the G20-backed Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, which pledged $10 million, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, with $11 million in financing.
The program’s main executor will be the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development Ministry, with the government set to disburse $1 million to cover recurrent costs, the IDB said.
The bank is also involved in the country through a number of longer-term debt investments totaling $1.13 billion, of which agriculture accounts for $138 million. It is the IDB’s fifth-largest area of lending in Haiti, behind water and sanitation.
In its draft country strategy for the coming five years, which the lender is currently fine tuning, the IDB points out that Haiti’s agricultural productivity declined 2.1 percent annually between 1991 and 2011.
Particularly detrimental to the sector’s progress has been the impact of natural disasters, prompting the bank to double up on efforts to help Haiti make agriculture “climate smart.”
The IDB’s says another major drag to greater productivity has been the business climate, including a lack of financing for SMEs – a shortage particularly pronounced in agriculture, which captures just 1 percent of total bank credit. The Ministry of Agriculture’s weak capacity to implement reforms does not help, the IDB argued.
The bank proposes to set “enabling conditions” for improved productivity by improving water management, helping the ministry invest in technology, providing technical and financial support to farmers, streamlining the land titling process and injecting money and expertise in the broader agroindustry value chain.