In Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, the wheels of economic progress grind forward slowly.
In the case of a newly-rehabilitated flour mill in Port-au-Prince, however, those grinding gears can actually be seen and heard.
For a nation struggling with hungry citizens the reopening of the Moulins d’Haiti (LMH) flour mill isn’t small potatoes. The mill was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake, and rebuilt at a cost exceeding $75 million by a consortium that includes U.S. companies, Seaboard Corp., and Continental Grain Co.
Now, in the years since the reopening of the mill, the price of flour has stabilized and supply has increased, meaning more, cheaper flour available to Haitians.
Meanwhile, Haiti struggles with the insidious and negative effects of what could fairly be labelled as “over-aid” from its developed friends, especially the United States. Since 2010, hundreds of millions of dollars and dozens of metric tons of food have poured into Haiti from the U.S. in an effort stave off life-threatening hunger in the disaster-weary nation.
However, as early as 2010 the Haitian government called for an end to current food aid. Despite the unpopularity of this in Haiti, this appeal has been echoed by outside organizations. Haitian farmers growing staple foods already face disadvantages in cost versus imports of subsidized rice from the U.S., and the massive quantities of food distributed by aid organizations have not made it any easier for Haiti to learn to support itself again.
So what are the bright spots in a situation that seems rife with complications?
First, the new LMH mill, which is nearly 25 percent more efficient than its predecessor. Despite difficult and possibly unfair competition from the Dominican Republic, the LMH mill is a true step towards solving the Haitian hunger problem.
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