Former U.S. President and UN special envoy to Haiti, Bill Clinton looks at bags and ropes made out of sisal fiber during a visit to the sisal fiber production company Sisalco S.A. in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Monday March. 11, 2013.
AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery
By Trenton Daniel
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A charity for former U.S. President Bill Clinton awarded more than $700,000 to develop the country’s agriculture sector.
The Clinton Foundation announced Monday that the grants will go toward efforts to plant trees, build a coffee farm and train farmers.
…. analysts in both Haiti and abroad say the nation is held back by an old-fashioned banking system and a dysfunctional justice system that provides little legal certainty for investors.
Other deterrents include U.S. government advisories that alert travelers to security concerns, a cholera epidemic and inadequate infrastructure.
The travel warnings didn’t escape the notice of first-time Haiti visitor Mario Batali, an American celebrity chef, even if he did have the luxury of traveling with Clinton’s security detail.
“The danger is in my opinion very overplayed,” said Batali, wearing his signature orange Crocs and shorts.
Batali said he could imagine introducing Haitian products to customers in his Italian restaurants: “I could see using their coffee. I could see using their mangoes. I could see using their rum. I could see using just about everything we’ve bumped into.”