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WORLD NEWSSaturday 16 April 2016

Donation of surplus peanuts from US dismays Haiti farmers 

DAVID McFADDEN                 eke out a living: free pea-     necessity or a counterpro-                                       ministration to stop surplus   peanuts go only to the tar-
Associated Press               nuts arriving from the U.S. as  ductive gesture.                                                 “dumping” on Haiti, the U.S.   geted children, said Matt
MIREBALAIS, Haiti (AP) —       humanitarian aid.               Critics say agricultural sur-                                    government and the U.N.        Herrick, communications
The barefoot farmer over-      “Foreign peanuts can only       plus aid and heavily subsi-                                      food agency are defend-        director with the U.S. Agri-
sees three teenage workers     make things harder for us,”     dized food imports do more                                       ing the aid program, which     culture Department.
                                                                                                                                they say represents only 1.4   Herrick said the argument
A vendor sells peanuts in Croix-des-Bossales market in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. A recently an-                                    percent of Haiti’s average     that the U.S. should simply
nounced plan to ship 500 metric tons of surplus American peanuts to help feed 140,000 malnour-                                  annual peanut production.      source Haitian peanuts
ished schoolchildren in Haiti has set off a fierce debate over whether such food aid is a humanitar-                            They say critics don’t take    doesn’t take into consid-
ian necessity or a counterproductive gesture.                                                                                   into account how dismal        eration the fact that the
                                                                                                                                Haitian harvests have been     local supply has a high
                                                                                                  ( AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)  and how badly struggling       incidence of aflatoxin, a
                                                                                                                                children need more nutri-      carcinogenic fungus that
as they attack weeds with      said Merilus, whose organ-      harm than good by under-                                         tion. As many as 30 percent    grows on moldy peanuts.
spades in a sunbaked field     ic farm in central Haiti is     cutting local farmers and                                        of Haitian youngsters suffer   While the USDA is funding
of peanut plants, a vital      plowed by oxen and main-        pushing the hemisphere’s                                         from chronic malnutrition,     research into the use of lo-
cash crop often grown on       tained without pesticides       poorest nation farther from                                      and the cumulative impact      cal peanuts in emergency
Haiti’s marginal farmland.     or chemical fertilizers only    self-sufficiency.                                                of a three-year drought is     rations and school feed-
If he’s lucky, Francois Meri-  because he could never          “This program does nothing                                       so severe that Haiti is fac-   ing programs, he said for
lus will reap a meager         dream of affording them.        to boost capacity in Haiti                                       ing “unprecedented food        now “the only factory in
harvest amid a lengthy         A recently announced plan       and does nothing to ad-                                          insecurity,” the U.N. Office   Haiti that produces pea-
drought that has shriveled     to ship 500 metric tons of      dress consistent food inse-                                      for the Coordination of Hu-    nut-based food rations to
yields and worsened Hai-       surplus American peanuts        curity,” said Oxfam Ameri-                                       manitarian Affairs says.       address the current health
ti’s chronic hunger. Now       to help feed 140,000 mal-       ca senior researcher Marc                                        “If this donation arrives in   and nutrition crisis has rou-
the subsistence farmer is      nourished schoolchildren        Cohen.                                                           Haiti, it is doubtful it will  tinely had to import afla-
dismayed by what he be-        in Haiti has set off a fierce   While an online petition is                                      make any difference to         toxin-free peanuts.”
lieves could be the latest     debate over whether such        circulating calling for Presi-                                   the economy, but for sure      The donation from the
challenge to his ability to    food aid is a humanitarian      dent Barack Obama’s ad-                                          it will make a difference      American peanut stock-
                                                                                                                                in improving the diets of      pile, which saw an influx of
                                                                                                                                the most vulnerable chil-      a whopping 113,167 met-
                                                                                                                                dren attending schools,”       ric tons from U.S. farmers
                                                                                                                                said Alejandro Chicheri, a     last year, is being made in
                                                                                                                                U.N. World Food Program        coordination with Haiti’s in-
                                                                                                                                spokesman.                     terim government. Senior
                                                                                                                                The humanitarian pro-          officials at Haiti’s agricul-
                                                                                                                                gram calls for packaged,       ture ministry and its food
                                                                                                                                dry-roasted peanuts from       security unit declined to
                                                                                                                                a vast U.S. stockpile to       comment.
                                                                                                                                be distributed as morning      The peanut contribution
                                                                                                                                snacks to youngsters in rural  is a minuscule addition to
                                                                                                                                schools. Over 600 schools      the billions of U.S. dollars
                                                                                                                                are already receiving daily    in assistance that have
                                                                                                                                hot meals with donated         flowed into Haiti aimed at
                                                                                                                                U.S. bulgur wheat, green       promoting stability, health
                                                                                                                                peas and vegetable oil.        and prosperity. The U.S. has
                                                                                                                                To prevent leakage into the    long been the largest do-
                                                                                                                                Haitian marketplace, the       nor of foreign aid that Haiti
                                                                                                                                U.S. is designing a monitor-   is dependent on.
                                                                                                                                ing program with the U.N.
                                                                                                                                food agency to ensure the         Continued on page 27

US bars government employees from traveling to Acapulco 

PETER ORSI                     is located and which has        last year, according to                                          borhoods along the city’s      available. That’s up from 95
Associated Press               been a flashpoint of drug       government statistics. For                                       seaside boulevard.             killings during the same two
MEXICO CITY (AP) — The         violence.                       all of Guerrero, there were                                      In late February, a rov-       months in 2015, but lower
U.S. government on Friday      American government em-         2,106 killings, a 33 percent                                     ing saleswoman was shot        than the murder rate seen
barred its employees from      ployees previously could        increase over the previous                                       dead in broad daylight at      last summer when 107 peo-
traveling to the Mexican       go to Acapulco as long as       year.                                                            Condesa beach. Earlier in      ple were killed in August
resort city of Acapulco,       they traveled by air instead    The violence peaked                                              the month another victim,      alone.
where a rise in homicides      of land. They are still al-     around summer in Acapul-                                         a man, was killed in the       Guerrero is the only Mexi-
attributed to drug gangs       lowed to visit the Guerrero     co, but murder rates con-                                        same area.                     can state for which the
has made it one of the         state resorts of Ixtapa and     tinue to be high and have                                        And in January, another        State Department has a
world’s deadliest cities in    Zihuatanejo if they fly.        even become common                                               roving salesman was fatally    near-total travel ban for
recent years.                  Famous in decades past          in tourist zones near the                                        shot on the sands of Hornos    U.S. government employ-
The new travel guidelines      as a playground for Hol-        beach.                                                           beach by a man who then        ees, although it warns peo-
posted online by the State     lywood stars and other          Last month, on Good Fri-                                         escaped on a Jet Ski.          ple to “exercise caution
Department extended a          American tourists, Aca-         day, the dismembered                                             There were 139 killings in     in” or “defer nonessential
ban that already covered       pulco, a Pacific Coast city     bodies of two men were                                           Acapulco in January-Feb-       travel to” other parts of the
nearly the entire state of     of about 700,000 residents,     discovered in plastic bags                                       ruary 2016, the most recent    country that are afflicted
Guerrero, where Acapulco       registered 902 homicides        and an ice chest in neigh-                                       months for which figures are   by drug violence.q
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