In early October 2016, the Category 4 Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti. With maximum sustained winds of up to 150mph, Matthew was the strongest storm to hit Haiti since Hurricane Cleo in 1964, and the third strongest on record. Matthew destroyed the entire agricultural production in six out of ten departments (government regions) of the country. For peasant farmers in Haiti who make up nearly 50% of the Haitian population, Matthew created a direct threat to their seed and food sovereignty and their survival.
Through the generous support of OAEC donors, OAEC raised enough money to donate roughly four tons of seeds to MPP following Hurricane Matthew. This donation allowed MPP to buy seeds from peasant farmers in less affected regions of Haiti, and distribute free seed to peasant farmers in the most affected regions of the country. Additionally, MPP owns and operates a public radio station and following the Hurricane, MPP put out a call for donations from peasants who could spare extra seeds. Peasant farmers donated another roughly four tons of seeds to match OAEC’s donation. All of the seeds donated and distributed were open-pollinated, organic, diverse, and culturally-appropriate mixes of locally-adapted varieties of maize, beans, and vegetables, and were purchased at a fair price directly from peasant farmers in Haiti.