Benito Jasmin, F2F Haiti coordinator, examining coffee seedlings
First-time F2F volunteer Katyana Andre and long-time volunteer Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak are currently in Haiti assessing coffee production and marketing in target regions. They're focused specifically on individual cooperatives in the North. While coffee from Haiti has long been exported, the quality of coffee in certain regions has not been up to international standards. Haitian coffee is facing considerable agricultural challenges with pests (including CBB and rust), the infrastructure for processing coffee is often in disrepair, and cupping evaluation scores are frequently low. Additionally, many Haitian cooperatives and producers have a poor understanding of quality standards for export. By interacting with these individual groups and visiting their operations, these F2F volunteers can gain a better understanding of the steps necessary for improving coffee quality and develop cost-analyses of coffee production and potential export for producers.
|Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak with Haitian workers sorting coffee beans|
It was while working with host Makouti Agro Enterprise, that Dr. Kaplan-Pasternak realized the potential for high quality Haitian coffee in the international market. She and fellow volunteer Yves Gourdet, a US businessman and Haitian native, developed a business plan and launched HaitiCoffee.com, Inc. In the first year, Haiti Coffee imported 11,000 lbs of coffee, ending the year with a small profit, and was extended a line of credit from a private supporter. The next year, Haiti Coffee imported a full shipping container of coffee and expanded to a second production site. Coffee bean sales have now impacted the lives of nearly 3,000 farming families in Haiti, and the company has started reintroducing Haitian coffee to the world.
What is most significant about Haiti Coffee is not only that is the result of cooperation between individuals and groups affiliated with F2F, but also that it is working to build a sustainable network to support viable, income-generating agricultural opportunities for Haitian farmers, and moving up the value chain to access a larger market.
Visit the F2F blog again soon for an update on Ms. Andre's and Dr. Kaplan-Pasternak's work in Haiti!