A Boost for Haiti’s Coffee Farmers

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By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti’s coffee industry will soon be receiving support from a multi-partner development programme that could provide help to as many as 10,000 smallholder coffee farmers in the country.

The programme, which was jointly set up by the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund and the French Agency for Development, is being supported by Nestle.

Nestle has signed an agreement with the IDB to provide advice and technical assistance in coffee production to Haiti’s farmers, committing a total of $300,000 over three years to the programme.

The initiative will provide a total of $3.5 million in grants for projects aimed at regenerating Haiti’s coffee industry.

Less than 20 years ago, coffee was Haiti’s primary agricultural export. Years of decline saw the demand of export drop from 191,000 bags in 1990 to 16,000 bags in 2009. That was due to several factors, chiefly a lack of farm investment.

Nestle will be working with Haiti’s National Coffee Institute to provide coffee seedlings and planting materials to enable coffee growers to replant and regenerate older crops.

It will also be working with several other partners, including the Colombian government, to ensure that Haitian coffee growers benefit from the experience of their counterparts in countries like Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

The company will also work with Haiti’s Ministry of Agriculture to distribute training materials to farmers.

Earlier this year, another coffee firm, Par Haiti/Pour Haiti, announced that it would be distributing Haitian-produced coffee in the United States.

Haiti, which has been working to revive its agricultural market, received a $15 million grant from the IDB last month aimed at modernizing its agricultural policies and institutions.

The IDB is currently using grants to finance projects totaling more than $200 million in Haiti, including crop intensification, irrigation and farming technology, among others.

 

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