Linking Small Producers with Export Firms: Market and Enterprise Development in Haiti's Central Plateau

  • Date Posted: April 16, 2014
  • Authors: Dan Norell, Margie Brand
  • Organizations/Projects: World Vision
  • Document Types: Case Study or Vignette
  • Donor Type: Non-US Government Agency

Mangos are Haiti’s largest agricultural export, topping over $10 million in sales per year. Not surprisingly, exporters prefer to work with suppliers who can provide large volumes of mangos at consistent quality. This preference makes it difficult for small producers to participate in the lucrative mango export market.

Individually, “very poor” producers in Haiti’s Central Plateau do not produce mangos at a large enough volume to supply exporters directly. Thus, market limitations have a prohibitive effect on the income of very poor producers.

Under the Multi-Year Assistance Programme (MYAP), financed by USAID’s Food for Peace initiative, World Vision (WV) has helped Haitian mango growers increase their marketable produce. The program supported the development of mango collection systems through group marketing agencies, provided training for producers to become organic and Fair Trade certified, sparked initiatives to increase production, and facilitated contracts with exporters.

U.S. supermarket chain Whole Foods took particular interest in the project and in the year 2011, imported three 50,000-lb. containers of certified fair trade and organic mangos weekly. This interest provided significant incentives for both exporters and producers to engage with each other, and with new international contacts. 

Despite increased costs for maintaining practices and records to sustain certifications, these efforts have increased post-harvest loss reduction measures and facilitated higher, more stable prices through forward contracting between producer groups and mango exporters. As a result of the program, small producers have more funds to support community social projects in their locales.

The MYAP has been successfully maintained for the past seven years. It is significant to note that the transfer of internal control systems to producer groups, and the ability of those groups to hire mangers capable of maintaining fair trade certification systems, has ensured continued interest by exporters and played a critical role in the longevity of the program.

This case study is part of the Integrating Very Poor Producers into Value Chains Field Guide prepared for World Vision through the USAID-funded FIELD Support LWA of FHI 360. The Field Guide focuses on allowing practitioners to more effectively reach the very poor through the use of a market systems approach to enterprise and market development.