Regarding the May 2 letter, “U.S. peanuts save lives in Haiti”:
The Agriculture Department previously said the surplus peanuts the United States plans to dump in Haiti represent only 1.4 percent of Haiti’s annual peanut production. I f this is so, then clearly Haiti grows enough peanuts to support its own needs, and the school snacks the USDA intends to provide could be sourced in Haiti. The peanut dump is more about unloading surplus U.S. peanuts than bolstering food security in Haiti.
The U.S. government lends U.S. farmers money to grow peanuts. The farmers repay the government in excess peanuts, and the government ships the surplus peanuts to Haiti. But Haitian farmers already grow peanuts and depend on them for their livelihood. How does that make sense?
That the proposed importation of surplus peanuts is taking place in the midst of Haiti’s electoral crisis also calls into question exactly how and with whom this deal was struck. With the thoroughly discredited outgoing government of Michel Martelly? Or the current interim government, whose primary mandate is to restart the election process that Mr. Martelly intentionally mishandled for five years? Either way, the optics are bad and perpetuate the appearance of the dysfunctional U.S.-Haiti relationship we’ve been trying to escape for a generation.
Matt Balitsaris, Pipersville, Pa.
The writer is past chairman of the board of Fonkoze USA, which supports the Fonkoze microfinancing organization in Haiti.