During his official visit to Brazil, the Minister of Agriculture of Haiti, Philippe Mathieu, declared that the presence of Brazilian troops as part of the UN peace mission in his country was much appreciated by the population.
He added that he believed that with UN assistance it would be possible to resolve Haiti’s domestic social problems.
Mathieu said he thought international assistance of some US$ 1 billion would be available for his country to use in socio-economic development.
He was citing a figure mentioned at the International Donors for Haiti Conference which took place in Washington in July.
Out of that total, between US$ 110 million and US$ 160 million would go to agriculture.
While in São Paulo, Mathieu visited community gardens and heard explanations of Brazil’s Urban Agriculture program which assists the needy in big cities.
Homeless groups are given seeds and seedlings which they can plant on public land. The income from the sale of their produce is used to sustain the group.
The Haitian Minister said the program could be successful in his country which is going through a profound social crisis in the midst of a tumultuous political transition.
During his five-day visit, Mathieu will sign cooperation agreements and attend a seminar on family farming in Brazil.
The Minister has also expressed interest in observing the industrial processes used to prepare cassava and cashew for commercialization, and the Brazilian ethanol fuel project which uses sugarcane.
Mathieu explained that sugarcane in Haiti is grown on a small scale for use as molasses and for beverages. But he added that Haiti does grow coffee and is interested in Brazilian technology in order to improve the quality of its coffee.
Translator: Allen Bennett
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