The caribbean country of Haiti has just exported its first bananas in 60 years, bound for Europe, under a contract worth a reported €93m a year over the next 3 years.
Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic to its east, a country that ships up to 350K MT of mostly premium organic fruit per year. But despite sharing the majority of the climatic, soil, logistics and trade characteristics and advantages of the Dominican Republic, it is only now that new company Agritrans is attempting to establish a banana business in Haiti.
Agritrans plans to produce up to 450 reefer containers of bananas per week, of which 70% are destined for the export market and 30% sold in Haiti. Agritrans has signed a contract with German distributor Port International for the export of 160,000 MT of bananas a year by 2017, with the help of a loan of US$6m from the Haitian government.
The recent loading of the first shipment of bananas under the contract in Cap-Haitien was attended by Haitian President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Evans Paul, along with representatives of Port International
The initiative will see up to 2m seedlings planted over a thousand hectares. To achieve its objectives, Agritrans has set up a consortium with FEPAP (a group of eight associations of farmers with more than 7,000 members) to provide modern agricultural equipment, pumps for irrigation, an artificial lake with a capacity of 700,000 gallons, and plans to create about 3,000 jobs.
Photo: A blessing for the first bananas shipped from Haiti in 60 years (www.reefertrends.com)