But hardly anyone could live from it since the allotments were too small and the new owners struggled to agree on a shared management of the land.
The problem was compounded by Haiti's ethnically diverse population.
Since no Haitian city has a regular electricity supply, for many residents wood remains the most important source of energy.
That's one reason why the island's forest cover has largely disappeared.
The weak infrastructure hampers quick delivery of aid and emergency help during natural catastrophes.