Haiti Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

Agriculture is still the foremost productive sector in Haiti and more than two-thirds of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on it for its livelihood. However, it is drawn with major problems.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Haiti. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

Only about a quarter of Haiti’s surface is described as cultivable, but population pressure means that over half of all land is used and in many places it has become increasingly depleted. Erosion, drought, primitive farming methods, smaller plots and poor irrigation mean that Haiti produces less than half of the food consumed. Promised government grants for such things as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides for the small farmers have also been missing or delayed. However, President Jovenel MoÏse, who took office in 2017, has pledged to put an investment in agriculture at the top of the agenda.

Agriculture’s share of gross domestic product (GDP) has fallen from half in the 1970s to just over one-fifth in 2016, and less than a tenth of the value of the country’s exports comes from agriculture. Coffee is still the most economically important crop, but coffee production has declined sharply and other agricultural commodities have taken over. Sugar, which was most important after coffee in the past, has been outstripped by cheaper imports and the small sugar grown today is mostly used to distill low-quality spirits. Today, the main crops are mango, cocoa, oils for the cosmetics and pharmaceuticals industry, avocado and sisal (agave plant whose fibers are used as ropes). For Haiti defense and foreign policy, please check themotorcyclers.

Food aid

A large part of foreign aid to Haiti consists of food, which has contributed to undermining domestic production. For house use, farmers grow corn, rice, bananas, sweet potatoes, beans, sorghum (sorghum) and vegetables. Many also breed goats, pigs or cows. During the 1980s, there was a shortage of rice, which is the most important element of the food, and rice was smuggled from the United States. At the urging of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), import duties on rice were lowered in 1994, which has resulted in most of the rice consumed being imported while thousands of Haitians have stopped growing rice. The same applies to breeding of chickens and production of eggs imported cheaper from the United States and the Dominican Republic. At the same time, the extensive import of food harms the country’s economy.

Tropical storms, such as Hurricane Matthew 2016, have caused great havoc in agriculture.

land Allocation

About a quarter of the adult population in agriculture is agricultural workers without their own land and over half of the poorest peasants together own just one percent of all land. Some state land was distributed during a land reform in 1996. About a tenth of the agricultural land is occupied by large, often US-owned plantations that produce coffee and sisal, among other things.

The fishing is mainly small-scale. Many people living on the coast fish for housing needs in the shallow water closest to the beach, but the availability of fish has decreased due to both overfishing and the marine environment being damaged by all soil washed into the water during the rainy periods.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

21.0 percent (2016) 1

Percentage of land used for agriculture

66.8 percent (2016)



New electoral law is adopted

Hopes increase with the new law that elections can be held to fill the vacant seats in the Senate. The mandate expired for a third of the senators in May 2012. Even at the municipal level, many seats are vacant.


MPs participate in protests against Martelly

Protests claiming Martellys have been going on since October. Demonstrations first broke out at high cost of living. The MPs who attended then also accused President Martelly of authoritarian rule. It became clear how strained relations are between the President and Parliament when the Deputy Chamber Speaker urged further protests.


Colored people sue the UN

Lawyers representing cholera-afflicted Haitians are filing a lawsuit against the UN to a New York court. They demand $ 100,000 for each person who has died in the disease, and $ 50,000 for those who have fallen ill but survived. The UN continues to assert immunity from claims (see February 2013).


Ministers resign

Two ministers, responsible for finance and finance as well as communications, resign. As a result, Martelly is forced to re-furnish the government for the third time since he took office.

Try to organize deferred choices

President Martelly appoints a group within the Electoral Commission to organize elections that would have been held as early as 2011 to one-third of the Senate seats and several hundred local items. There has been political disagreement over the appointments to the Election Commission. The heavily delayed elections increasingly appear as a source of political concern.


The UN rejects compensation claims

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon calls President Martelly himself to announce that Haiti will not receive compensation for the cholera outbreak. The United Nations refers to a 1947 convention that exempts the world community from liability. Over 600,000 Haitians are said to have been infected in the epidemic.


Disaster assistance does not reach

President Martelly said in a speech on the three-year anniversary of the earthquake that the assistance that would help Haiti recover after the disaster has not worked. Only a third of the promised aid has been paid directly to the state, he says, and calls for better cooperation between donors and the government.

Haiti Agriculture and Fishing