With the declaration of the epidemic, Haitian farmers lost a lot of money due to the difficulties of finding customers in an environment of fear linked to the cholera in the department of Artibonite.
Whilst the infected workers died, others were afraid to enter the rice plantations in the lakes fed by the Artibonite river. This was the river identified by the United Nations as the cause of diffusing the bacteria of the virus.
Places such as Grande Saline, Desdunes and Lestere, in the department of Artibonite, were affected by the cholera during harvest time.
Also, when the growers could sow the rice, they had problems with marketing as traders did not arrive. The cost of storing the unsold goods resulted in addition losses for the growers.
The problems in rice production affected 80,000 growers in the Artibonite region, 28,000 day labourers, 800,000 retailers and 400,000 owners, according to statistics provided by organisations which support rural industry.
This meant a decrease in the consumption of local rice, which is suffering from the import of foreign grains, and decreasing prices from the United States.
Before this situation, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation began developing a campaign for food hygiene and cholera prevention. They are searching for the best way in which to communicate with the isolated communities.
The initiative aims to inform about practical food higiene in order to prevent illnesses linked to the lack of sanitary conditions. The FAO has also considered it important to reassure the rural and urban consumers about the quality of Haitian farm products.
The Haitian Minister for Health has affirmed that cholera caused the death of 4938 people between October 2010 and April 2011. In spite of being the poorest nation in American, the Carribbean country had eradicated the illness more than a century ago.
A group of investigators called together by the UN recognised that the origin of the epidemic is a stock of the virus from the South Asia. This stock contaminated the Artibonite river, close to the camp of the Nepalese soldiers sent to Haiti by the UN. The investigation also says that the camp lacks sufficient sanitary conditions.
Story courtesy of Agencia Púlsar, the news agency of AMARC-ALC.