April 17, 2021 – Brussels
CoEH press release on the occasion of the international day of peasant struggles – Free zone
project in Savane Diane
CoEH ALERTS ON MEASURES ENDANGERING FOOD SECURITY IN HAITI
Following the presidential decree of February 8th 2021, the European Haiti Coordination (CoEH)
expresses its deep concern and full support for farmers’ organizations. The CoEH was alerted by the
SOFA (Solidarite Fanm Ayisyen) on land grabbing issues in territories that have previously been
granted to the SOFA by the Haitian state, and that it has been exploiting since 2017.
Twenty-four hours after the end of his term, Jovenel Moïse signed a presidential decree that made
Savane-Diane, in Saint Michel-de-l’Attalaye, an agro-industrial free zone. This decree earmarks at
least 8 000 ha of that territory for the production of Stevia, a sweetener used in the manufacture of
This act, whose legal foundation solely lays in Moïse’s will to remain president beyond the end of his
term, ultimately deprives Haiti from one of its most fertile land for food production in a country where
46% of the population is in phase 3 (food crisis) or 4 (emergency) in regard of food insecurity1.
The Savane Diane area (25 000 ha) covers about 2,5% of Haiti’s agricultural land, and was classified by
the Minister of Agriculture as one of 5 domains that could guarantee food self-sufficiency for the
Not only the allocation of fertile lands to private companies strongly weakens food security in Haiti,
but it also severely affects families based in Savane Diane who derive their food and revenue from
agricultural activities, as the process implies the expulsion of local farmers. According to the National
Institute of the Agrarian Reform (INARA), re-assigned lands are state owned, even though private
interests claim access to these lands in the name of old concession rights that expired due to lack of
exploitation. It is also necessary to point out that land disputes in the northern regions of the country
often led to outbreaks of violence.
This re-assignation of fertile agricultural lands intended to feed the population to the production of
exported goods deprives many farmer families from their only way to survive. It might also fuel local
tensions that could lead to violent conflicts. This act, implemented by an illegitimate president, is an
act of violence against the Haitian people and its farmers. This presidential decree must therefore be
+32 497 239049
1 Bulletin : Panier alimentaire et conditions de sécurité alimentaire, Coordination Nationale de la Sécurité
Alimentaire, January 2021.
2 Protestation note of the SOFA against the free zone project in Savane-Diane, 22/02/2021