Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Over 50% of the population lives with less than US$1 per day and close to 80% of the population lives with less than US$2 per day. Haiti has a very young population where 44% of individuals are less than 15 years old and 66% are less than 25 years old.
The situation is even worse in agricultural areas where agricultural households have the highest poverty rate: 89% live with less than $2 per day. Subsistence farming is the dominant activity in rural Haiti. Rapid population growth has led to land fragmentation and declining crop yields. This has forced farmers to move to the hills, where clear cutting and production of charcoal for fuel has caused severe deforestation and erosion. Productivity-enhancing technology is practically non-existent among the poorest farmers. As a result, agricultural productivity declined sharply in the past 40-50 years and the decline still continues. Half of the food consumed in Haiti is imported.
As a result of the recent earthquake devastation of Port-au-Prince, many people have moved into rural areas. This has resulted in increased pressures in these areas, where many farmers already cannot produce enough food to feed their families.
The community development programs of World Vision are an effective way to break the cycle of poverty, and to help families in rural Haiti become more self-sufficient.