Regarding the April 27 editorial “Nutty farm subsidies”:
Haiti has among the highest rates of chronic poverty in the world. Almost one-third of all childhood deaths are due to undernutrition, and Haiti is suffering from a crop-withering drought. For years, the United States has supported Haitians by helping to create jobs, boost incomes, reduce extreme poverty and ensure greater food security, especially for Haiti’s children. With the support of the Agriculture Department’s McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, the USDA has partnered with the U.N. World Food Program to provide daily hot meals to more than 175,000 children at 610 schools in Haiti’s most severely drought-stricken areas. The meals, which incorporate donated U.S. bulgur wheat, green peas and vegetable oil, will be supplemented by a morning snack of roasted peanuts thanks to the recent U.S. donation.
I recently visited one of the schools and saw firsthand the daily struggle many Haitian families face. To ensure this aid complements ongoing development assistance, the USDA is funding research by the World Food Program into the use of locally procured peanuts in emergency rations and in school food programs in Haiti. The USDA is also funding a new vocational agricultural school to train a new generation of Haitian agricultural professionals.
Haiti remains in crisis, and the nation’s children need our help now. Thanks to U.S. farmers and agricultural innovation, they have it.
Alexis Taylor, Washington
The writer is deputy undersecretary for farm and foreign agricultural services at the U.S. Agriculture Department.