The Haiti Hope Project
The Haiti Hope Project was a five-year, $9.5 million public-private partnership among businesses, multilateral development institutions, the U.S. Government and nonprofits, designed to create sustainable economic opportunities for Haitian mango farmers and their families.
Once known as the “Pearl of the Antilles,” Haiti has been an important exporter of coffee, vanilla, cane sugar, cocoa and essential oils throughout its history. Unfortunately, in recent decades deforestation, soil degradation, overpopulation and political instability have taken a heavy toll on rural Haiti. The trade embargo in 1994 ended or severely reduced several industries, and the 2010 earthquake had a severe impact on the people, markets and already suffering infrastructure of the country. The disaster did, however, galvanize the Haitian people and international supporters, and the past five years have witnessed significant improvements in road infrastructure, access to finance and support for business and foreign investment.
The Harvard Business School published a case study about the Haiti Hope Project. See how a business approach can succeed in an environment dominated by aid.
Haiti produces a unique variety of mango, the Francique, which is full of sweet and spicy flavor. This mango is popular in Haiti and commands a premium on the U.S. market, but production has not kept up with demand. Historical challenges facing the sector have included scattered production with just three to five trees per garden, low prices that discouraged farmers from planting additional trees, and an inconsistent and unreliable supply chain. The Haiti Hope Project was created to solve these challenges and unlock value and growth potential for the mango sector in Haiti.
The Haiti Hope Project was a five-year, $9.5 million partnership among businesses, multilateral development institutions, the U.S. Government and nonprofits, designed to create opportunities for mango farmers and their families.
Launched in 2010, the partnership was helping to address the challenges that have until recently limited the Haitian mango industry’s potential. Haiti Hope aimed to increase the mango income for 25,000 Haitian farmers through training on production and marketing, access to finance and access to markets. In keeping with TechnoServe’s approach to promoting business solutions to poverty, the project taught farmers, traders and exporters how to earn more with their effort and current resources.
Working with Haitian farmers, farmer groups, mango exporters and the Haitian Government, the project helped to build new businesses, accelerate existing ones and build relationships in the industry that benefit farmers. In addition to coordinating between stakeholders, Haiti Hope delivered direct, hands-on training on mango tree production and care, harvesting techniques, quality control, negotiation and marketing, credit and financial management, traceability and food safety.
In addition, the Haiti Hope Project took a comprehensive approach to gender, ensuring not only equal participation by women and men, but also equitable benefits from project activities. Participation by gender was tracked for all services offered by the project, as were the benefits and adoption rates of new skills.
Haiti’s sweet and spicy Francique mango at market. © Audra Melton Photography
Providing Skills Training: More than 25,100 farmers were trained on techniques for managing their trees to produce better quality fruit, as well as sales and negotiation skills. In addition, specialized training in harvesting, grafting, nursery production and business skills helped to fill skilled-labor gaps across the industry.
Empowering Women: The project mainstreamed gender into every aspect of design and implementation. As a result, women made up more than 30 percent of producer group leaders, participated in every type of training and activity in equal numbers to men, including those that have traditionally been male-dominated, and adopted the skills learned at similar rates.
Connecting Farmers to Markets: The project helped over 262 Producer Business Groups sell 2,523 metric tons since 2013. The total export value (FOB) of sales from project-assisted farmers since 2011 is estimated at $7.49 million. In 2015, 94 percent of groups earned a profit while paying their members industry-beating prices. They did this without any subsidy – just business acumen.
Supporting Access to Credit: In partnership with local commercial bank Sogesol, more than 9,352 farmers have received over $3.25 million in loan disbursements. Repayment rates of 96 percent are far above the industry average.
Modernizing the Industry: Working closely with the Haitian Government and exporters, the project designed safe handling practices and rigorous traceability systems that were adapted to Haiti’s unique supply chain. Through these efforts, the project helped to bring world-class food safety practices to the mango industry and opened new markets.
Making Change Sustainable: The project ensured that the knowledge, skills and systems created by the project will continue long after its completion in December 2015. By taking steps such as transitioning Producer Business Group support to exporters and training Ministry of Agriculture staff on traceability, the project handed over management to ensure the industry continues to grow for years to come.
The Haiti Hope Project is a public-private partnership comprised of The Coca-Cola Company; the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDB); the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); and TechnoServe. The project is also supported by the Soros Economic Development Fund and other international and local organizations.
The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company with a portfolio of more than 500 brands and a global distribution rate of 1.6 billion servings a day. The Coca-Cola Company is committed to building sustainable communities, focusing on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities in which the company operates.
Established in 1959, the Inter-American Development Bank supports economic and social development in Latin America and the Caribbean, providing solutions by partnering with governments, companies and civil society organizations. The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB Group, promotes poverty reduction through private sector development, with an emphasis on microenterprises and small- and medium-sized businesses.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent agency that provides economic, development and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States.
TechnoServe works with enterprising people in the developing world to build competitive farms, businesses and industries. We are a nonprofit organization that develops business solutions to poverty by linking people to information, capital and markets. Our work is rooted in the idea that given the opportunity, hardworking men and women in even the poorest places can generate income, jobs and wealth for their families and communities. With more than four decades of proven results, we believe in the power of private enterprise to transform lives.