Haiti: rice plantations threatened by drought in the Artibonite Valley

alterpresse.org - April 4th, 2013 - Exalus Mergenat

Alors que la dernière récolte de riz dans diverses localités du bas artibonite a été ravagée fin décembre 2012 par une épidémie d’insectes, des plantations pour la campagne en cours ont été quasiment perdues en raison de la sécheresse qui s’abat sur toute la vallée de l’Artibonite, constate l’agence en ligne AlterPresse.

Cette sécheresse, signalée par le jaunissement des plantations de riz dans la vallée de l’Artibonite, aurait pour origine des travaux effectués par l’Électricité d’Haïti (ED’H) en vue d’alimenter les turbines hydro-électriques du barrage de Péligre.

Google translation to English is provided below:

While the latest crop of rice in various localities of the lower Artibonite has been ravaged by end of December 2012 an outbreak of insects, planting for the current year were almost lost due the drought that swept across the Artibonite Valley, says the online agency AlterPresse.

This drought, indicated by yellowing of rice plantations in the Artibonite Valley, have their origin in work done by the Electricity of Haiti (ED'H) to power the turbines of hydroelectric dam Péligre. This work would have reduced the flow of the Artibonite River, says the president of the Platform resistance planters of Artibonite (PREPLA) Fremiot Nicolas.

For about a month, the water does not flow in irrigation canals of the Artibonite Valley that are almost dry. Farmers and farmers who are struggling to find water for their fields do not know where to turn, says Nicolas.

"If nothing is done within two weeks to return the water to the plots, all rice crops in the valley will be lost," feared for his part Kenson Desire farmer interviewed by AlterPresse.

"Last December, I lost all my crops due to insect infestation. If I lose this new crop, I can not take care of my family, "laments Desire.

The farmer is not only to show his concern. The call to rescue the crop has already been launched in the organization responsible for the development of the valley of the Artibonite (ODVA) and the Departmental Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development.

For its part, the General Coordinator of the Committee for Peasant Affairs Electoral Clean Elections (KOZEPEP), Charles Suffrard, calls this sad situation of drought has plunged into a deep planters desolation.

Suffrard was pessimistic about the ability of rice farmers and rice farmers in the Artibonite region to save their crops threatened by the drought.

"A disease called black straw, due to this situation, has already challenged the rice fields in the valley," says the principal of KOZEPEP.

28 000 hectares of irrigated Artibonite Valley produce 80% of the national rice production. Repeated loss of crops could exacerbate food insecurity in the country, is still concerned Suffrard Charles.

"This is the will of the Haitian authorities to destroy local production in favor of imports following an agreement with international contractors," he complains.

Suffrard did not understand the statement of the head of state has declared 2013 the year of agriculture and the environment then it does nothing, he considers, to strengthen agriculture in truly the Artibonite Valley.

As paradoxical as it may seem, farmers do not have the means or inputs required for agriculture worthy of the name indicates Suffrard.

This drought was presented to the Head of State Michel Martelly visited the weekend passed a rehabilitation salt ponds in the town of Anse Rouge, inform the Departmental Director of the Ministry of Agriculture in the Artibonite, Eddie Charles.

(VIEW COMPLETE ARTICLE IN FRENCH)

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