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One mamit (5.75lb tin) of rice now costs 150 Haitian gourdes (approx ₤2.24 or $3.57), 50% up since July. Corn meal at 100 gourdes a mamit, has doubled in the last year. Beans? Well, they are only 210 gourdes, a mere 40% increase. It is a measure of the scale of the food price crisis that Haitians are now using the word goudougoudou – their imitation of the sound of ground rumbling in the 2010 earthquake – to denote hunger pains. Soaring food prices mean the hungriest country in the Americas is getting hungrier.
The most immediate cause is the impact of Hurricane Isaac, which devastated crops across Haiti in late August. Shortages quickly made their impact felt in markets and shops where the poor, who include many small farmers, can spend up to 75% of their minimal income on basic foodstuffs even at 'normal' prices.