News  >  Blog

Sustainable Agriculture: Post-harvest Center of Grand Savanne

Published 01/07/2015 by Global Communities

Sustainable Agriculture: Post-harvest Center of Grand Savanne 
By Jude Martinez Claircidor, Global Communities Haiti Communications Consultant
Remembering the Haiti EarthquakeFive years on since the devastating Haiti earthquake of January 12, 2010, Global Communities is telling the stories of some of our Haitian friends who are working hard to improve their lives and livelihoods in spite of the challenges that the earthquake created and the day-to-day difficulties they face in Haiti. We are focusing on the stories of those we worked with before the earthquake, who have shown the resilience and determination to make their livelihoods sustainable throughout the post-earthquake period. Together, we celebrate what they have achieved and continue to achieve as partners for good.

Post-harvest Center of Grande Savanne
During the ongoing reconstruction of Haiti following the severe damage caused by the 2010 earthquake, the Post-harvest Center of Grande Savanne (Saut d’Eau) has presented great economic opportunity. The Konbit Ak Tet Ansanm (KATA) project implemented by Global Communities with support from USAID provides employment and training for the people of Grand Savanne.
Grande Savanne is the #2 producer of Francisque mangoes in Haiti. This sector represents a major source of income for the residents. The average farmer in Haiti earns about US $ 1,000 a year. Sosyete Pwodiksyon Agrikol ak Komèsyalizasyon (SAPKO), a community-based organization, is working with Global Communities to help mango producers earn more money and encourage them to do so locally, to avoid becoming economic refugees and boat people in other areas of the country with minimal employment options. More than 300 individuals are employed through the project today; when it started, the staff numbered only 40.
Of all the varieties of mangoes produced in Haiti, Francisque mango is the most coveted and is frequently sold out because of its fleshy fruit and special flavor. Each year, the regular season of mango farming starts around February – March and ends around July. During this period, mango producing areas and the whole marketing chain experience a resurgence of activity. Trucks travel constantly between post-harvest centers and factories to move products to export before processing. Meanwhile, in mango processing plants for export, the movement is intense because they procure mangoes from growers of the main producing areas.

Mango nursery. The center helps strengthen mango production in the region by providing agricultural training to help producers ensure they meet the technical and sanitary standards.
The center employs individuals who produce more than 300,000 Francisque mangoes each year. First the mangoes are washed multiple times and then sold to mango processing corporations  for export. More than 310 producers are part of SAPKO to help manage the project and upgrade agricultural production in the area.
To preserve the center and further strengthen Francisque mango production in the region, the center provides agricultural training to help producers ensure they meet the technical and sanitary standards required for the production and marketing of mangoes. This training has likely played an integral part in greatly reducing the effect of post-harvest losses compared to three years prior. 
Previously, producers only sporadically sold or traded mangoes, but now they understand the importance of dynamics involved in mango production and sales.  At the start of each harvest, producers come to the center to wash their mangoes and then resell them to SAPKO. Today there are many more producers operating in the sector. In the past, some of them cut their mango trees to produce and sell charcoal. But now they keep their trees and sell their mangoes, thereby earning them more money.
The center is built on 130, 000 square feet of land donated by the community. It occupies 216 square feet and has a reception room, storage room, an administrative section, two docks with stairs, toilet facilities  and a sizable water storage tank.
According to the National Association of Mango Exporters, exported mangoes annually generate nearly 10 million US dollars to the national economy, so mangoes may be well on their way to dethroning coffee and cocoa as Haiti’s chief exports.
This center offers a viable model for a successful community project Because of the success of the center, other donors have evaluated the capabilities of the staff and are now funding additional projects:  the European Union now works with the CBO on another program that has trained 500 producers and created a nursery in the area that has now distributed more than 10,000 seedlings of mango to farmers in the area.