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Haitian farmer Fritz Saint-Cyr lives in a constant state of anxiety, knowing his vegetable crops that feed seven family members can be destroyed anytime as increasingly frequent and severe droughts and storms batter the Caribbean island nation.

Saint-Cyr, who lives in the southwestern department of Nippes, receives messages to warn him of potential flooding as extreme weather driven by climate change hits small-scale farmers the hardest in a country where over half the population of 11 million relies on agriculture for food and income.

But such alerts are of little use to him.

“Early warning messages from the civil protection agency become ineffectual or even useless because we have no safe places to store our agricultural products,” said Saint-Cyr, 52, who also grows corn and sorghum.

“I feel very vulnerable during the hurricane season,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “You can lose everything – harvests, homes.”

With very limited government subsidies, support or access to credit, it is up to farmers to bolster their own ability to resist climate shocks as shifting rainfall patterns wreak havoc on harvests.

“Farming families already living on a knife’s edge have very little margin for error, and may have nothing to fall back on when crops fail,” said Edryne Michel, food security and resilience manager for aid agency Mercy Corps in Nippes.

“They don’t have the tools they need to fight climate change, and at the same time they must adapt their practices in order to survive,” she said.

That often leaves farmers simply hoping for the best.

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