Fishing boat off the coast at Les Cayes. - - WFP Assistance to Rural Development and Vulnerable Groups. One of the world's poorest countries, Haiti, is a small, largely rocky and mountainous island in the Caribbean. Agriculture is the most important sector with about 80% of its 5.5 million people living in rural areas. Over-cultivation of marginal lands due to population pressure has led to extensive soil degradation. Forests, which 150 years ago covered 70% of the country, have been largely destroyed, and only 7% of the land is now forested. The UN/FAO World Food Programme (WFP) began assisting the Haitian Government with food aid in 1969, and since then has supplied USD 28 million to assist projects for rural development, vulnerable groups, functional literacy and hospital feeding.