Welcome to the Multilateral Investment Fund's Haiti Blog. We are glad that you stopped by to visit us!
We will be bringing you stories about MIF projects in Haiti, and keep you posted on what is happening around the topic of Haiti in the field, the news and blogosphere. The idea is to raise awareness of the great things we are doing in the country.
For instance, did you know that until two decades ago, coffee was Haiti’s principal farm export, representing as much as 70 percent of its foreign agricultural sales?
Yet, a combination of international and internal factors contributed to a sharp decline in output, compounded by a persistent lack of farm investment. As a result, exports fell dramatically from 191,000 bags in 1990 to 16,000 bags in 2009. In 1990, coffee accounted for 70% of the total value of agricultural exports whereas today, it accounts for less than 17%. Approximately 58% of coffee produced in Haiti is consumed domestically and reaches consumers through a distribution network of small traders and artisanal roasters. Most of Haiti’s coffee is produced by smallholder farmers in ‘Creole gardens’ of less than two hectares in size.
This is why the MIF is now partnering with Nestlé, the Government of Colombia, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, the National Coffee Institute of Haiti and the Agence Française de Développement, to improve coffee production in Haiti?
This new project will work with some 10,000 smallholder farmers in regions with potential to grow premium coffee in the North, Central, Southeast and Grand’ Anse departments. The project will address increasing production, improving quality controls and strengthening the management of farming cooperatives and producer organizations. It builds on previous work in 2005 with INCAH, the Institut de Café Haïtien, where MIF helped improved the capacity of the government agency. MIF also worked with cooperative networks of 5,000 coffee farmers in Thiotte and in Baptiste, to improve quality, production and processing of coffee. The project led to a fivefold annual increase in coffee exports.
One of the project’s principal goals is to raise yields of coffee and other staples such as yams and bananas, strengthening farming families’ food security. With appropriate investments and cultivation techniques, their coffee output could double. Coffee farmers will also receive funds from other IDB-financed rural development programs in Haiti to replant and regenerate their older trees.
Another aspect of the project is to improve how Haitian cooperatives and producer networks process coffee beans in order ensure consistent quality, ultimately leading to a drop in rejection rates. Haitian coffee grower organizations will be able to reduce their costs of collection, processing, transport and exporting, which are twice as high as those of Andean coffee cooperatives.
The project will also help cooperatives diversify their services, for example for the leasing of farm equipment, and by getting involved in coffee roasting for local markets.
As the MIF works primarily through local organizations, the Haitian NGO Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (AVSF) will be executing the project. MIF is supporting the Haitian coffee sector with a technical assistance grant of $1.9 million, and with an additional $300,000 in-kind from Nestle and contributions from the Colombian Government and Colombian Coffee Growers Federation.
The project was launched on July 12 in Thiotte, Haiti.
New Yorkers, you can get a taste of Haitian coffee here.