Name Haiti Hope Project (HHP)
Website http://www.technoserve.org/our-work/projects/the-haiti-hope-project
Country Haiti

Profile

Mouvman Pwodikte Kalabat (MPK) is a producer business group (PBG) formed in 2012 to help mango producers in the community of Kalabat, Gros-Morne, secure higher prices for their products through better formal market linkages, adoption of harvest/postharvest best practices and access to credit. Located in the mountainous north region of the Artibonite department, Gros-Morne has several microclimates conducive to mango production. Group members market a mango variety unique to Haiti known as the Madame Francique. The only variety exported from Haiti, this delicious mango is popular for its sweet, savory flavor and easily identified by its large S-shape and bright colors.

Mango trees grow in their natural habitat with little human intervention outside of the harvest. Teams of pickers traditionally climb trees up to 20m in height scattered throughout the smallholders’ plot(s) to hand-pick or cut high quality fruit which they toss down to a “catcher” on the ground. There are few industrial orchards in Haiti. Producers selling to the export market average 8-10 productive trees. The PBG coordinates harvest intervals for approximately 20 group members per interval, aggregating volumes, washing and grading for quality and dispatching the product to an exporter’s packhouse 180km away in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Preparing the product for the export market pre-farm gate vis-à-vis the PBG has generated seasonal employment for 21 community members and provided opportunities to learn important skills, ranging from recordkeeping to grafting. By introducing producers and workers to harvest/postharvest best practices, MPK has provided an alternative for its members to bypass disadvantageous traditional broker channels, gain better control over their harvest and receive higher, consistent pricing from exporters directly. Revenues generated by the PBG have translated into improvements in their community as well, through micro-infrastructure projects and internal, informal lending schemes.

MPK was supported in its endeavors by a variety of partners, including TechnoServe’s successful Haiti Hope Project, Ralph Perry Import-Export SA, La Finca Import-Export SA and Société Générale de Solidarité SA.

Read more about the TechnoServe - Haiti Hope Project here and watch a short film about the project here.

 

Achievements

Initially, smallholder mango producers were reluctant to accept the idea of forming a producer business group focused primarily on economic impact, rather than the sociopolitical objectives common to many farmer organizations in rural Haiti. Moreover, producers were accustomed to a passive approach to mango production and commercialization – disregarding cultivation, relying on social networks and brokers for both harvest and market access, and neglecting tree maintenance and care.

To address these challenges, the TechnoServe - Haiti Hope Project convened various stakeholders in the value chain, including producers, seasonal workers, traders and packhouse managers (ie, exporters) to promote communication, information exchange and investment. Risk assessments were conducted to identify food safety barriers along the supply chain, including produce safety and quality, workers’ welfare, traceability and segregation, and environmental stewardship.

Training
A robust training program was developed to mitigate skills and knowledge gaps identified by the Project, culminating in a widespread radio emission with produce safety and quality, tree maintenance and care, marketing skills, and gender equity components. Incremental produce safety concepts were amended to the appropriate training modules to acclimate producers to the requirements of food safety, good agricultural practices and, specifically, the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2011. These concepts included, but are not limited to:

  • On-farm hygiene
  • Harvest and produce handling best practices
  • Recordkeeping
  • Environmental management

Traceability
A traceability system was developed and implemented, allowing trace-forward and trace-back capabilities for all product lots dispatched by the PBG. It remains the only functional system in Haiti to provide traceability to the producer / production site level, enabling efficient product recall or withdrawal if needed.

Production
A production program was implemented during HHP to increase the productive capacity of qualified producers who were identified as potential “anchor-producers” for their PBGs, resulting in over 70,000 seedlings planted.

To measure and codify the mitigating impact HHP’s planting program had on water scarcity and deforestation, TechnoServe is currently implementing the Replenish project. This project aims to increase the amount of mango trees planted, rehabilitating select watersheds in critical agricultural regions in Haiti. Careful analysis and prior learnings suggest that targeted training, strategically placed nurseries and orchards, and market access support will improve the agroforestry system in rural Haiti by increasing the density of trees per production site, reducing soil erosion in heavily deforested and degraded zones, and replenishing valuable water resources. Qualified producers from PBGs throughout these regions apply to receive the training and resources necessary to establish a small mango orchard (avg. 0.65ha) with approximately 80 trees or plant additional seedlings on existing production sites. Some key components of these trainings include:

  • Contour planting on hillside production sites
  • Proper spacing and other cultivation best practices
  • Intercropping for integrated pest management and higher profitability

Currently, MPK is participating in a pilot program from TechnoServe to certify the PBG against the GLOBALG.A.P. IFA v5.0 Standard - Option 2. The pilot program has targeted 120 producers from 2 PBGs to receive certification for the upcoming 2017 season. With implementation guidance and support provided by Ms. Ruth Nyagah, GLOBALG.A.P. Farm Assurer (ID# 141262) of KenCert International, the pilot program developed a Quality Management System (QMS) and Food Safety Plan for the PBGs. Additionally, streamlined training modules and materials, including records and forms, are being developed, using a human-centered design approach to ensure maximal adoption. Given the previous exposure to produce safety principles, a concerted effort is being made to ensure that both the PBG and its members adhere to the recordkeeping regimen consistent with their QMS. An Integrated Pest Management plan is being developed to complement the QMS. To date, there are no equivalent efforts to bring effective food safety guidance at scale in Haiti.

Through the pilot program TechnoServe is collaborating with other stakeholders to expand on a food safety committee incubator, which aims to bring together local industry leaders, professionals, technical experts and government agencies around common food safety goals and to identify several high-potential individuals for increased capacity building in food safety. Emphasis will be placed on the mango sector as a “first-mover” for Haiti as one of the country’s top agricultural exports by value.

It is the project’s belief that the GLOBALG.A.P. Standard offers the clearest path to produce quality and safety consistent with the FSMA requirements, which will open up new opportunities for smallholders and exporters alike to reach new markets, secure better pricing and gain more exposure in the food industry globally. Moreover, the requirements will reconcile outdated practices in harvest and postharvest activities, environmental stewardship and sustainable farming techniques in a country that has struggled to modernize its agricultural production and stay competitive on the global market.

MPK Stats:
2013: 496 dozen (dz)
2014: 3752 dz
2015: 5611 dz
Volume increase = more than 10x - YR1 to YR3

Revenue
2013: $479 (r)
2014: $4076 (r)
2015: $5503 (r)

Net Profit
2013: -$435 (p)
2014: $213 (p)
2015: $523 (p)

Profit Margin
2013: operated at loss
2014: 5.2%
2015: 9.5%

Total Membership: 99
Active Membership: 55
Women members = 65%
Women on leadership committee: 3 (5 members total; a woman serves as president)