Haiti is a perfect example of a country that once supported itself, and then through free trade policies, became dependent on others. They lost food sovereignty.
Bill Clinton recently expressed regret over his free trade policies that flooded the country with cheap imported rice, “I had to live everyday with the consequences of the loss of capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people because of what I did; nobody else.”
So, sustainability is a condition that always must be satisfied in order to consider any economic goal worthwhile.
Source: Huffington Post
It is especially fitting that President Clinton’s mea culpa comes as the Jewish community worldwide prepares to observe Passover. The story of Passover is a stark reminder that communities cannot rely solely on others to provide for their needs. Until people are empowered to help themselves, in-kind assistance from the outside is useful only in the immediate aftermath of acute emergencies. Long-term needs must be met principally through a community-led approach. The lesson we take from Passover is that once the Israelites spoke out against slavery their prayers for freedom were finally answered.
Today, the people of Haiti are speaking as loud as they can. They desperately want a voice and central role in the reconstruction of their country, including the ability to meet the country’s nutritional needs with food produced by Haitians in Haiti. In fact, President Rene Preval, himself a rice grower, has asked for international food aid to be replaced by financial support for farmers and the re-development of the agricultural sector. Preval knows that sustained success in rebuilding depends on food sovereignty, or the ability for Haitian farmers to grow their own crops and feed their own communities.