Despite growing demand for Aflatoxin-free (Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring fungus that regularly contaminates peanuts due to poor post-harvest handling) and cost-competitive peanut production, the Haitian peanut sector currently suffers from low productivity, declining farmer revenues, and little to no quality control. Without access to large, stable buyers with adequate cash flow, quality testing, and medium-term storage facilities, Haitian farmers typically commercialize their harvest over a several-month period via regional or provincial markets. This puts excessive strain on their time, energy, and cash flow, all the while increasing the risk of Aflatoxin contamination and other quality management concerns from poor storage conditions. These factors threaten to force the introduction of imports, crippling a viable revenue stream for thousands of Haitians.
CGEP saw a unique opportunity to transform the ailing peanut sector and help Haitians meet the demand domestically.
First, CGEP facilitated a $1.25 million investment in Acceso Peanut Enterprise Corporation (Acceso - Haiti), a peanut supply chain enterprise, to provide capacity building and inputs for Haitian peanut farmers that will significantly improve yield and quality. Acceso - Haiti purchases peanuts from smallholder farmers at favorable, fixed prices, then sorts, tests and re-sells them directly to buyers and the general market.
Acceso - Haiti's depots are staffed and supervised by Haitians and optimized to serve approximately 200 to 400 farmers within a five-kilometer radius. The depots manage all disbursements of credit, seed and other supplies to farmers throughout the growing cycle as well as purchase farmer stock immediately following harvest at market-competitive prices. Twelve of these depots have already opened, and more are planned throughout Haiti, which will improve the livelihoods of peanut farmers and bring positive change to their communities.
As of the end of 2015, Acceso - Haiti has trained over 3,600 farmers, and purchased 286MT of peanuts from more than 2,300 farmers. CGEP is currently working with farmers via 12 depots in the Central Plateau and North/Northeast.
With better knowledge, targeted inputs, services and available credit, program farmers can increase their current yields with minimal cost increases. These yield increases, paired with reductions in production costs, will result in significant income increases for participating farmers. Yields for other crops also stand to improve due to better rotation, allowing farmers to diversify their sources of revenue.
In addition to operating as a viable, self-sustaining business, Acceso - Haiti strives to help create a competitive and profitable peanut value-chain in Haiti. Beyond the health benefits of increasing the supply of Aflatoxin-free peanuts to the Haitian population, Acceso - Haiti's activities specifically target farmer income and job creation in complementary sectors and enterprises.
In order to build off its existing platform of depots, Acceso - Haiti started expansion into five new crops as of 2015 – lime, mango, castor, sisal, and sorghum – which will further increase farmers' incomes. APEC will help farmers maximize productivity and profits from available land via strategic intercropping and crop rotations.