What comes to mind when you think of Haitian agricultural products? Perhaps rum, coffee and mangos which, truth be told, are very good. Haiti also produces very high quality cocoa although, like every export crop, it is held back from realizing its full potential by political instability and weak infrastructure. However, there is room for growth as Haitian cocoa holds its own against any of its other Caribbean and Latin America neighbours. The FECANNO cooperative along employees 4,000 farmers in Northern Haiti producing high quality cocoa. The full article by AFP journalist Amelia Baron follows.
The cessation of Temporary Protected Status, which in reality often lasts many years, would result in the deportation of 200,000 Haitians, Nicaraguans, El Salvador, and Sudanese who together have more than 200,000 children born in the United States. Deportations would separate families and create unneccesary suffering. It would also have negative economic consequences for companies like Butterball Tukey who depend upon an immigrant workforce. This is hard, dirty, and difficult work that would be hard to fill otherwise. Policies can be be sound from both a humanitarian and economic perspective at the same time - deporting hard-working people and separating them from their families when their labor is very much needed would be neither.
When thinking of Haitian exports, mangos, coffee, and rum may come to mind. However, Haiti was once and could be yet again a significant producer of cacao – the raw form of cocoa that is roasted and converted into chocolate. Expanding cacao production would mean livelihoods for farmers in rural Haiti while potentially complementing reforestation efforts. This is, all in all, a sweet deal.
Up to 7,000 Haitian migrants may try to cross the Southern California border in the months ahead. The majority of these migrants were given humanitarian visas to live and work in Brazil following the earthquake. While there were many opportunities to work in the lead-up to the Olympics, the Brazilian economy has taken a beating as of late. As work became harder to find, Haitian migrants increasingly sought opportunities elsewhere - and often travelling dangerous routes to do so.
Thanks to Digicel and Voila Comcel, obtaining a cell phone is the least of your worries when traveling to Haiti. Almost immediately after arriving at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port au Prince, one spots red and neon green beach umbrellas, under which man holding a string of calling cards and other mobile phone related products. Need a cell phone? No problem.
The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), the Haitian and Norwegian Governments, the Earth Institute, and a consortium of NGOs have launched "The Cote Sud (South Coast) Initiative to rehabilitate degraded land on Haiti's southern claw. The initiative will include reforestation, erosion control, fisheries management, mangrove rehabilitation, and sustainable tourism. If successful, UNEP and partners hope to expand into other regions. A press release follows and additional information is available at the Haiti Regeneration website.
Coca Cola, the Inter American Development Bank (IDB), and Technoserve announced this morning a $7.5 million, five-year initiative, part of which will be focused on creating livelihood opportuntiies for 25,000 Haitian mango farmers. A new flavor of Odwalla Juice called "Hope Haiti Mango Lime-Aid" has been launched. Each time a bottle is purchased, 100% of the proceeds will go to the Haiti Hope Project. More info on the new Odwalla flavor is available here and a photo from the launch with Bill Clinton and the CEO of Coca is available here. The official press release follows below.
The second annual International Congress of the Haitian Diaspora will take place August 6-9, 2009 at Trump International Beach Resorts in Miami Beach, Florida. The purpose of the event is to capitalize on the resources that the Diaspora can bring to help build Haiti’s economy. The agenda includes a variety of issues such as boosting tourism, stimulating agricultural production, restoring forests and ecology, managing water supplies, preparing for disasters, achieving literacy, and job creation. A schedule of events is copied below. If you would like to participate, you can register here. Contact information is listed below if you want to volunteer.