Today, Haiti currently imports 80% of its rice, which is a stark contrast to the 70’s when it was self-sufficient in rice production and recognized as a rising exporting nation.
Haiti’s modest prosperity was reversed in the 90’s during President Bill Clinton’s administration when he forced the nation to reduce its tariffs from 50% to 3%. As a result, Haiti had to rely on foreign imports because it was cheaper than producing its own crops.
The United States then took advantage of the lowered rates by implementing agricultural subsidies domestically and then flooding the Haitian market with US rice, resulting in the nation being the fifth largest importer of US rice.
Although President Clinton has since apologized for the United State’s role in destroying Haiti’s rice industry, reversing the conditions that increased poverty and left the nation especially vulnerable after natural disasters will require deep and meaningful policy reform.
We stand with our brothers and sisters in Haiti, and encourage our PushBlack fam to donate to these Haitian-run organizations that have been working on the ground during the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew: CapraCare and Haitian Health Foundation
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