Nestlé is supporting a multi-partner international development program to improve the livelihoods of more than 10,000 small-holder coffee farmers in Haiti.
The program — set up by the Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN) — will provide about $3.5 million in grants for projects to regenerate the country’s coffee industry. The goal is to help Haitian coffee growers use more sustainable methods to improve the quantity and quality of the crops they produce. The program will focus on strengthening the business skills of coffee cooperatives to help them expand activities such as coffee bean collection and processing, quality control, certification, and marketing, at the same time as reducing their costs.
It will also lend financial support and expertise to help cooperatives diversify their interests beyond coffee production, to include activities such as group purchases of agricultural materials, leasing farm equipment, and coffee roasting. Nestlé has committed $300,000 total over the next three years to work with Haiti’s National Coffee Institute (INCAH) to provide coffee seedlings and planting materials to enable coffee growers to replant and regenerate older crops.
Coffee was Haiti’s principal agricultural export until just over two decades ago, when the country’s output began to decline sharply. The annual amount of coffee sold for export dropped from 191,000 bags in 1990 to 16,000 bags by 2009. This was due to a variety of international and regional political and economic factors, which have been compounded by a persistent lack of farm investment.
The FOMIN programme will concentrate on farmers in Haiti’s north, central, southeast and Grand’Anse districts who have the potential to grow premium coffee. It will leverage resources from other rural development programmes financed by IDB in Haiti, including one for the transfer of agricultural technology and one for the mitigation of natural disasters.