In Haiti, a Struggle to Get Crops in the Ground
30 июля 2013

In Haiti, a Struggle to Get Crops in the Ground

In Haiti, a Struggle to Get Crops in the Ground
This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, from voaspecialenglish.com | facebook.com/voalearningenglish Farmers in Haiti plant about sixty percent of their crops in the spring. But this spring is a struggle with disaster. The January twelfth earthquake flattened much of the capital and surrounding areas. It left more than two hundred thousand people dead and about a million homeless. International recovery plans include helping Haiti expand food production. But now seasonal rains do not make the situation any easier. The rains continue through May and June. Farmers in the quake area lost tools as the shaking caused landslides that buried equipment. Also, many farmers need money for seeds and fertilizer. And Sabine Wilke of the aid group CARE says many lack the money to hire help to prepare the land. "For the planting, they also need local labor," she says. "And since they do not have enough money to hire people, the work will simply not be done." The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization said it has delivered tools and seeds to thousands of families in the quake area. The earthquake was centered near Port-au-Prince. An estimated six hundred thousand people left for the countryside. Experts say it will be difficult to feed them. Food prices are high, and many people fled the capital with only the clothes they were wearing. Gerald Murray at the University of Florida is an expert on Haiti. He says many rural families have taken in relatives and friends who lost homes and jobs. "There may be enough to eat for a while," he says, "but before too long there may be hunger." Farming is about sixty percent of Haiti's economy. But most food comes from imports. Before the quake, the government and private groups were working to improve agriculture. Deforestation is a major problem. There are few trees to protect soil from floods, droughts and severe storms. In the sixteen hundreds Haitis French colonizers cleared forests to plant sugar cane. In the nineteen fifties, forests were cut down for wood and other products. Poor technology and poor roads also reduced agricultural production. So did animal and plant diseases. Farmers moved to cities. Professor Murray says the average farm in Haiti is about one to one and a half hectares. Fields are commonly divided between level ground and a mountainside. And that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, available at voaspecialenglish.com and on Twitter and Facebook at VOA Learning English. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 13Apr2010)
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