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Health and Iodized Salt

Less than 5% of Haitian households have access to adequately iodized salt.  Meanwhile, Iodine Deficiency Disorder (IDD) is estimated to affect more than 50% of the Haitian population. It is estimated that approximately 250,000 newborn babies are affected by IDD, placing them at risk of mental impairment.  The effects of IDD include 10-15% loss in IQ, stillbirths, extreme developmental disability in children, and Goiters (thyroid gland enlargement) in adults.

Production Methods in Haiti

The majority of the 40,000 MTs of salt produced in Haiti each year is concentrated in Commune Anse Rouge.  Salt in Haiti is produced using traditional methods of evaporation of seawater through individually owned and operated salt basins.  This method allows producers to produce maximum two salt harvests per basin, with chemical and physical impurities present preventing salt iodization. Traditional salt methods also provide hazardous work conditions to women harvesters, who are the most vulnerable population on the very bottom of the production hierarchy.

Modernized Salt Production Methods

The majority of salt production in the world uses a “modern” method consisting of a series of interconnected shallow basins, allowing the sea water to circulate and evaporate faster, eliminating impurities. This modern method of salt production results in considerably higher quantity and quality of salt produced, which also allows its iodization onsite. Experts agree that Haiti has favorable climatic and land conditions for the development of such salt production. ESPRI-Sel seeks to develop a social entrepreneurship model which accompanies the traditional producers while developing unused land for large-scale community-owned salt production.

Project Background and History

Since 2005 AMURT has been implementing a regional development strategy for Communes Anse Rouge and Terre Neuve, focusing on salt production initiatives and integrated watershed protection.  Click for more: TIMELINE