PORT-AU-PRINCE – The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has opened two post-harvest mango centers to increase production and incomes for thousands of Haitian farmers. The centers will prepare produce, particularly mangos, for export by improving packaging methods and meeting standards of foreign importers who lack significant mango production domestically.
Experts estimate the centers could increase farming incomes for those using the facilities by 20 percent.
“USAID is committed to helping strengthen Haiti's agriculture sector and spurring economic growth,” said USAID Haiti Mission Director Dr. Carleene Dei. “We're proud to support farmers and help make their products available to more people, including buyers overseas. These centers teach farmers how to better package and sell their produce, which will increase their marketability and raise incomes.”
Mangos are Haiti's second largest export crop after coffee, but farmers struggle to get the fruit from the tree to the market. Mango farmers have been losing 30-40 percent of their post-harvest product due to a lack of training and infrastructure. Poor packaging can bruise or destroy mangos, making them unsuitable for consumption, and foreign-importers must be able to trace and verify the origin of the mangos.
The centers were created through a new public-private partnership between USAID, CNFA®, and agribusiness firm JMB S.A. to strengthen and support local farmer associations, including Mobilization to Save Agricultural production (MOSOPA) and the Agricultural Company for the Production and Marketing (SAPKO). The total budget for this project is $248,328. USAID funded $173,328 while $75,000 in funds came from CNFA® and JMB S.A. The project was implemented by CHF International Haiti, a Maryland-based nonprofit organization.
“CHF has focused on improving the value chains between farmers and the private sector. This project will allow the farmers from these communities to increase their income by reducing their losses,” said Country Director for CHF International in Haiti Alberto Wilde. Each center will have 31 permanent jobs, giving 62 long-term employment opportunities in the area. The centers will increase the production capacity of 9,500 farmers – 8,000 in Cameau and 1,500 in Saut d'Eau.
“The centers will help Haiti leverage its precious natural resources and help farmers realize their crops' full economic potential,” continued Dr. Dei.
Mango trees are the most common trees in Haiti. Over 140 different varieties have been identified on the island, and because of Haiti's different microclimates, mangoes can be produced almost all year round. Only one type of mango, the Madame Francis, is currently exported.