Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Glimpse of Why We Buy Local

Haiti, the ‘Pearl of the Antilles,’ was once known for its natural beauty and abundant agricultural capacity. Though Haiti’s land and her producers have suffered significantly as a result of mistreatment and exploitation, Haiti’s national agriculture has incredible potential. Kore Pwodiksyon Lokal: Buy Local Haiti aims to assist in the renewal of Haiti’s land, in the revival of her producers, and in the education of Haiti’s Northern neighbours so that we can work together to contribute to sustained positive development in Haiti.
Imported products harm Haitian producers and increase dependency on foreign products and aid. Often, imported products are subsidized by their local governments and are therefore sold in Haitian markets for the fraction of the price of Haitian products. For example, in Port-au-Prince, imported rice from the United States sells for about $3.40/ 12 cups, where as the same amount of Haitian Yellow Rice is sold for $5.50. When local products are forced to compete with subsidized imports the livelihoods of farmers and small businessmen in Haiti are threatened. As farmers face a diminishing market for Haitian products, they are pressured to leave their gardens and seek alternative employment in urban centers. This rural-urban migration contributes to overpopulation in Port-au-Prince, high unemployment rates and tensions within the population.
When we in Haiti chose to consume what is produced locally we empower Haitian producers and boost the Haitian economy. The New Economics Foundation in London found that a gourde “spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy” (FTD, 2006). In addition, the support of Haitian farmers will serve to challenge the current patterns of dependency and will contribute to a more self-sustaining Haiti. Environmentally, eating locally produced foods decreases pollution, carbon emissions, traffic, and food is less susceptible to contamination.

5 comments:

Carrie said...

Ginia, Ari, Tant Ca!
It is wonderful that this is on Youtube. Now you're not just local starts but INTERNATIONAL celebrities. We have shared it with everyone we know and we have told them that if they go to Haiti they can meet these talented people in person!
Carrie

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marlele78 said...

I am currently working with The Grameen Foundation to build a sustainable agricultural social business in Haiti that will be entirely Haitian owned and operated. In an effort to secure the funding from The Grameen Foundation we must produce a business plan. We are having problems finding information about the cost of produce in Haiti. Would you be willing or able to provide us some general costs for things like tomatoes, heads of lettuce, peppers...things like that? Any information would be of immense value. Thank you!

Thomas Watson said...

I try to buy local almost everything now. Even when shopping at a grocery store, I much prefer the little local grocer rather than the big-box behemoths. Hopefully one day we'll actually see main streets revived, and the crapmarts of the world gone.

Thomas Watson said...

I try to buy local almost everything now. Even when shopping at a grocery store, I much prefer the little local grocer rather than the big-box behemoths. Hopefully one day we'll actually see main streets revived, and the crapmarts of the world gone.