With exactly 143 varieties of mangoes, Haiti is the leading exporter of mango in the Caribbean and 16th in the world (Le Nouvelliste, 2016). It is not rocket science if we tell you mango is an excellent source of Vitamin A and C, Potassium and beta carotene. Our first importer is the United States. The mango sector in Haiti produces an average of 2.5 million cases per year (Ayibopost, 2019). The figures relate only to mangoes which are intended for export. On the other hand, the real production is much higher. It is an incredible source of income for the country. The production is made throughout the year following the agroecological zone and there is an increased demand on the international market. But do producers really benefit from this trade?
It is obvious that we have a higher production capacity than other Caribbean countries and that we can multiply our production by three or four if the right decision is taken and the producers are well supported. It happens that the mango market is not well regulated. There is a small group of exporters controlling the market and the information is not available. I had a chance to do a deep analysis of this situation in the Agricultural Policy course this semester with professor Alix DAMEUS. Companies do not even want to provide information on their turnover generated on the sale of mango on the market to students interested in this sector and who want to carry out their end-of-study work. They do this for two reasons. Firstly, to maintain full control over the market so that other entrepreneurs do not come to take advantage of it. And secondly so that producers are not aware of the real price of mango. They buy mangoes at a ridiculous price from producers and resell them on the international market at a very high price. Producers therefore work to enrich these agents who provide intermediation between them and the international market.
Oh yes, I’m not telling you a joke. It is indeed a sad reality. Very sad even. Imagine spending your time and energy to create a masterpiece. You know that somewhere on the other side of the world someone would love it. Since you don’t have the means to get in touch with this person, you are forced to give it to a third party for a bite of bread who then goes out to make a million for it. How would you feel? Your family cannot even make a living from it. Would you have the courage to keep producing magnificent works? No. Of course not! And this is normal reaction of mango producers. They neglect and even abandon the sector for other more profitable activities. It is a hard blow for exporters. Mango production continues to decline.
Mango can contribute to reduce the imbalance of the trade balance in the national economy by bringing more foreign currency into the country. To do so, producers must understand the real value of mango on the international market. They have to be paid honestly and get more supports.
HAITI MANGO FACTS. (2018, October 7). Schwartz Research Group. https://timothyschwartzhaiti.com/mangoes-in-haiti/
La filière de la mangue en Haiti dépend des coopératives agricoles – AyiboPost. (n.d.). Retrieved July 5, 2021, from https://ayibopost.com/la-filiere-de-la-mangue-en-haiti-depend-des-cooperatives-agricoles/
Lavigne, C., Doreus, G., Scutt, R. (2013). La filière mangue en Haïti: Comment des milliers de microproducteurs alimentent une filière d’exportation [Conference_item]. Conférence finale du projet DEVAG Réseau caribéen pour le développement de systèmes horticoles agroécologique; s.n. https://agritrop.cirad.fr/578413/
Le Nouvelliste | Haiti and its many mangoes. (n.d.). Retrieved July 5, 2021, from https://lenouvelliste.com/article/158778/haiti-and-its-many-mangoes