Posted by Le Nouvelliste on Monday, March 2, 2015 Under: Agriculture
In the coming months, the first containers filled with bananas from the Agritrans project will depart for Europe. A first since 1955. Year in which Haiti has exported this commodity for the last time. With this project, the country is not only back on the global map of banana exporting countries but also hopes to find its place in a market dominated by giant India the world's largest producer of bananas ahead of China and the Philippines.
The Agritrans project, first agricultural free trade zone of the country is 2 million seedlings that will soon be planted on a thousand hectares with an annual output of 60 000 tonnes. According to the law on free zones, 70% of this production will be exported as against 30% for the local market.
With 17 million tonnes of bananas in circulation - for a total production of 130 million tonnes, mostly consumed locally - the international banana trade shows in 2014, according to FAO data, about $ 7 billion per year.
For Jovenel Moses, responsible for the Agritrans project, the banana is a mine, a source that never runs dry. It is harvested throughout the year. Now this commodity, very popular around the world, is not leaving the country for 60 years. Meanwhile, other countries in the region have engaged in this culture and handsomely profit from the mass of their currency it reports annually.
This is the case, among others, the Dominican Republic, where, according to data from the central bank of the country, banana exports reached between 2011 and 2013, 69% of total exports of fruits. Making it one of the largest exporters of organic bananas in the region.
Jamaica also, according to the Caribbean Journal, has high hopes for the banana industry. Indeed, the Minister of Agriculture, Derrick Kellier, announced to the press that his country will embark on banana production, with an initial target of 381 hectares of land.
Never mind! Jovenel Moses feels quite equipped to deal with regional competition. "The project is carried by Agritrans' 1,000 hectares, the Northeast has an area of 65 000 hectares [...] In terms of arable land, we have nothing to envy to other producers in the Caribbean level," said he who admits he intends to go tickle the Dominican Republic which we import almost all of the bananas we eat.
But Agritrans has another advantage. In the Caribbean, Haiti has an export quota for sale in Europe for different productions, alcohol or banana, etc. that the country has never used due to lack of production. "This project gives us the opportunity to start using the banana export quota," says Marie Carmelle Jean Marie, who, as a former Minister of Economy and Finance, has played an important role in the culmination of this project.
Unless major disasters, raw banana exports towards the old continent should take place in June of that year. Or rather pear-banana, to be precise. For among the three most popular types of bananas in Haiti, namely "bannann poban", "bannann Miske" or plantain - notably used by the merchant that fries them - and dessert banana, pear banana commonly known, only the latter is exportable.