Mango Orchard

Mango Orchard

Budget: $5 million USD.

Objectives and Scope:

Our goal is to establish an exemplary horticulture farm in Leogane, with specialization in mango orchards. We aim to bring together a coalition of businesses, governments and civil society partners to create opportunity for mango farmers and their families which will greatly support the development of a sustainable mango juice industry in Haiti. The oldest mango orchard in Leogane is reported to be of more than 50 years old. In the past only the big landlords had mango orchards, and the production was either for their own home consumption or for distribution to their friends and relatives. Mango, or Mangifera indica, is one of the most important tropical fruit of the world and is popular both in the fresh and in the processed form. It is commercially grown in more than 80 countries. The leading mango producing countries of the world are India, China, Mexico, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, Nigeria, Brazil, Philippines and Haiti. Mangoes represent the largest percentage of the tree population throughout Haiti. In terms of planted area, mango is the most important tropical fruit crop in the country. It was recently estimated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that there are 10 million mango trees growing in Haiti.

Area and Production:

According to the leading mango exporters, the mango industry in Haiti is one of the most dynamic sectors of economy, with exports growing every year. Due to regional climatic conditions in Haiti, the Mme Francique mango is exported during 10 months of the year. That is three or four months longer than most mango producing countries.

Pillars and Geographical Locations:

Léogâne (Haitian Creole: Leyogàn) is a coastal city in Ouest Department, Haïti. It is located in the eponymous arrondissement, the Léogâne Arrondissement. The port town is located about 29 km (18 miles) West of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. Léogâne is the birthplace of the Taíno queen Anacaona (the town was originally called the Amerindian name Yaguana and the city’s name is a corruption of that) as well as Marie-Claire Heureuse Félicité, the wife of the Haitian revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines (1758), and Simone Duvalier, the First Lady of Haiti. In 2010, Léogâne was at the epicenter of the January 12 earthquake, and was catastrophically affected, with 80-90% of buildings damaged. It also had been destroyed in an earthquake in 1770. Our Mango Orchard Development Project will create economic rebuilding in the following locations of Leogane: Fayette, Deslandes, Bellevue, Dufort, Macombe, Darbonne, and Zoranje.

Varieties Grown, Seasonality in Production and Collection Points:

Mangoes are produced in different regions of the island. Haiti is able to produce mangoes almost all year round. Over 140 varieties of mangoes have been identified, but the Madame Francis is the only one currently being exported. The main collection points of mango for supply to distant consumption markets are in Leogane, Plaine de Cul de Sac and Cabaret. Leogane is strategically by far the most important collection market in the area; it could receive mango collection from Jacmel and the Les Cayes districts. Central Plateau is another important collection market receiving mango supplies from the Artibonite, Ennery and the Gros Morne districts.

Climate and Soil:

Mango trees has grown well in regions with a temperature range of 10° C to 42° C; the ideal temperature range is 24° C to 38° C. Annual rainfall requirement is 1250 mm to 2000 mm. Deep, rich loamy soil with between 6-7 pH is most preferred for mango cultivation. Soil for mango production ought to have good drainage, adequate fertility and moisture.

Contribution to Haiti’s social and economic development:

The shortage of labor and unavailability of irrigation facility means that mango cultivation in the area is one the best choice for the farmers. Most of the lands in the areas are rain-fed uplands suitable for mango orchard development. Considering the common practice in the area, the only annual expense of farmers on the established mango orchards is the occasional spray of insecticides to protect the fruits from insects. That is why, even the medium sized land holding farmers in the area will be interested in participating in the development of a mango orchard. The Coca-Cola Company announced the creation of the Haiti Hope Project, to create opportunity for 25,000 Haitian mango farmers and their families by supporting the development of a sustainable mango juice industry in the country. This five-year project, currently estimated at $7.5 million seeks to double the income of these farmers and to raise their standard of living, while contributing to the long-term development and revitalization of Haiti. Mango experts believe that earnings can touch $100 million within two to three years, if government treats horticulture as a priority sector, as being done by India, China and Thailand. In the longer run, the figure can easily go to $500 million in next seven to ten years if the right priorities are pursued vigorously. In order to do that, the government first has to take a paradigm shift: Change its current concept of “major and minor crops.” It must treat crops according to their potential and per ton earnings, rather than letting decades-old notions about crops dictating its policies, which are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Despite declaring the horticulture an “industry,” there has been no improvement in the investment climate in the sector. It is largely because of policy distortions, which continue afflicting the sector. The policy framework thus needs to project horticulture, which could fetch billions of dollars in export.

Key Results and Success Indicators:

Chile is one such example, which adjusted the policy framework and took its horticulture exports from a negligible amount of a few million dollars to over $6 billion with a span of two decades. Haiti, with its rich natural endowment, a luxury only a few other countries on the globe have, can certainly go much farther. The government must move to bring investment in infrastructure that could handle export of fresh products, and include cool chain, pack houses and value addition. There are several tested models that could attract investment. One of them, and most effective so far, is the Chinese one: where government invests seventy percent of project cost and offers the other party to buy it out once the project is up and running. The model has changed horticulture landscape in China, and can certainly help Haiti rejuvenate its sector and exports. The Indians, the Chinese and the Thais have concentrated on genetic improvement of their traditional varieties, increasing per acre production and reducing the cost of production. In addition to that, they have created domestic quality standards, which made purchases for export much easier. They also created independent inspection system to ensure that quality in each and every consignment. Haiti needs to follow the suit.

Marketing System:

The functional organization of the value chain is sapling production by nursery farms, mango production in orchards by the farmers, collection and transport of mango by the pre-harvest contractors, and distribution in the consumption markets by the wholesale commission traders and retailers. The main marketing channel for supply of mango from the production area to the consumption markets are: orchard farmers, pre-harvest contractors, wholesale commission traders, retailers, and consumers.

Harvesting and Assembly:

Like in any other fruits, the pre-harvest contractors are the main assembling agents in the case of mangoes. These traders conduct visits to the mango orchards of individual farmers, just after the flowering season, and enter into contract by fixing lump-sum amount for purchase of all or some of the trees (as per agreement) in the orchard, and pay some advancing money. The contract amount is reached based on estimates of the contractor on the number of fruits in the trees and the composition of different varieties of mango in the orchard. While estimating, the contractor considers the costs to be incurred in spraying of insecticides, in keeping labor for watch and ward of the orchard for up to three months, other costs in picking, packing, transportation, etc, and the price expectation of the fruit in the consumption markets.

Functions performed by the pre-harvest orchard contractors are:

a) Negotiating and contracting of orchards from farmers.

b) Spraying of chemicals (insecticides) on the orchards, if farmers have not done so.

c) Post people to watch and ward the crop till maturity.

d) Harvest the fruit.

e) Make arrangements for transportation.

The pre-harvest contractors’ expenses are:

a) Orchard contract price.

b) Application of insecticides (if needed).

c) Expenses on watch and ward of the orchard for up to three months.

d) Harvesting and collection of mango.

e) Packaging.

f) Transport to the bus load point.

g) Transportation to the consumption market, load and unload.

Packaging and Processing:

Mango is perhaps one of the most important fruit, which can be utilized by processing industry during the different stages of its growth, development, maturity and ripening. Various processed products can be prepared from both raw and ripe mangoes. Products from raw mango are: dried mango slices, salted mango pickle, sweet mango chatney, etc… Similarly, ripe mangoes can be utilized for preparation of slices, pulp, jam, squash, nectar, juice etc… There are two agro-processing industries in Haiti (JMB S.A. and ANEM). They provide farmers with training on picking and handling techniques designed to reduce fruit losses in the field. Their collective efforts have helped local farmers increase their revenues by thirty percent, by simply improving their post-harvest techniques. They have also pioneered the hot water treatment, a joint effort involving a consortium of all the mango exporters. Haiti was the first country to be approved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its hot water treatment method.

Analysis for Mango Production in Leogane:

With scarcity of agricultural labor in the area and increasing rural road network, more and more commercial oriented farmers will be attracted to go for development of mango orchards in the lands suitable for it.

1) The soil and climatic situation of the Leogane region are very suitable for production of mango.

2) Mango orchards are already expanding in several clusters in these districts of Leogane: Fayette, Deslandes, Bellevue, Dufort, Macombe, Darbonne, and Zoranje.

3) There are many established nurseries with production of surplus saplings already in existence in Leogane.

4) Medium and large farmers are attracted by high returns from the crop compared to traditional food crops.

5) The orchards can be used for cultivation of food crops for up to the first four to five years, while the production of mangoes has not started.

Environmental Assessment: Population growth and increased economic pressures are leading to widespread deforestation throughout Haiti affecting low quality fruit trees, which are cut down for fuel (Charcoal) or wood products (Furniture). Only high revenue trees, such as commercial quality fruits and spice trees will eventually survive deforestation. Trees such as Mango trees which earn between $50 to $100 annually are too valuable to lose. Therefore, transforming low quality fruit trees by top-grafting is clearly a simple way of protecting the environment and improving the economic plight of the farmers by increasing their revenues. It is a choice between watching the majority of the trees disappearing over the next decade and trying to survive on an island without tree cover, or converting them to commercially viable trees. The Mango industry has a good prospect of promoting public-private partnership, and set an example in the development of market network in the country.

Sustainability Assessment: Monthly classes will be arranged on stone grafting for nursery technicians of the local nursery farms in the area. Various agricultural agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will be approached for providing training resources and personnel for conducting the trainings. We will continuously take actions, conduct research to determine the appropriate planting practices, and promoting the adoption of such practices by the farmers. We will establish of a joint private and government horticulture offices in the area, with specialists in mango cultivation, to do continuous research and provide specialist technical services to the commercial mango farmers on insect/pest and other production related issues. We will promote development of trading linkages for the local traders and the farmer groups with traders/commission agents in the target export markets and we will also promote the establishment of trading linkages of the processing industries with the pre-harvest contractors and the farmers for contract supply of required raw and ripe mangoes to the industries at competitive prices.

Obstacles and Constraints: In recent years, insects attack on plant and fruit is reported which are not responding to chemicals being used, this is posing great threat to sustainability of the crop in the long run.

Nurseries:

1. Lack of Skilled Nursery Technicians.

In 1981, experimenters at Lucknow, India, reported the economic advantage of “stone-grafting”, which requires less space in the nursery and results in greater uniformity. The nursery farms find it difficult to get skilled nursery technicians, particularly for stone-grafting. The trees from in-arching are good for only two purposes, fruits and firewood, whereas the trees from stone grafting are good for three purposes,. fruits, log wood and firewood. We must arrange trainings on stone grafting for nursery technicians in each local community.

Farmers:

1. Planting of Sapling Practices.

The recommended spacing (40’x40’) and planting procedures such as digging of pits of 1mx1mx1m, weathering of soil for two to four weeks, and use of adequate quantity mature and well decomposed farmyard manure is reported to be practices by less than 15 percent of farmers. We must support action research to determine the appropriate planting practices, and promoting the adoption of such practices by the farmers.

2. Lack of Technical Support Services.

In Haiti Horticulture Officers are almost non-existent. Most agronomists and farmers are lacking the specialized knowledge and skills to tackle the issues of improving mango orchard management, including insect and pest control. The nearest government horticulture bureaus are in the major cities which are not easily accessible to them. In the region of Leogane, we must establish a government Horticulture farm, with specialization in mango orchard for demonstrating scientific planting practices and providing specialist technical supports to farmers for establishment and improvement of commercial orchards in their own areas.

3. Insect and Pest Damage Control.

Even with increasing use of insecticides, the incidence of pest attack is ever increasing. Hoppers, mealy bugs, fruit flies and mites are common pests in Leogane. In recent years stem-borer attacking top of the branches is being reported by local farmers, and these pests cannot be controlled by application of any pesticides. We need to establish a government horticulture farm in Leogane, with specialists in mango cultivation, to do continuous research and provide specialist technical services to the commercial mango farmers on insects, pests and other production related issues. We need to study on insect and pest damage in the area by experts to suggest remedies and preventive measures.

4. Lack of Effective Farmer Groups/Cooperatives.

While the major mango exporters and a few orchard owners in Haiti are organized in groups, these were not effectively working in organizing services to the local farmers in accessing technology or in increasing bargaining strength of farmers in getting inputs, credit and in marketing of the output. We need to reform and strengthen farmer groups and cooperatives to take up collective action in promotion of improved and sustainable production technologies, in purchase of inputs, and in arranging marketing of outputs. The farmers cooperatives can be linked to the local banks to channelize micro-credits to the member farmers easier and at cheaper rate, thus supporting the poorer farmers to bargain for better prices.

5. Lack of Proper Orchard Management.

The mango trees are seldom given fertilizers and irrigation, and any pruning, training, cleaning and inter-culture operations are rarely practiced. Even the leaves and branch litters are taken out from the orchard for burning as cooking fuel by the locals, which could otherwise have provided some organic matter upon decomposition. The farmers need training and demonstration on improved orchard management for increased returns from the orchard.

6. Lack Inter-cropping and Irrigation Techniques.

If proper irrigation facilities were available, vegetable crops, and short lived fruit plants such as papaya, pineapple and guava could also have been inter-cropped for increased income of the farmers. Leogane already has the foundation for a dependable irrigation system it only needs proper renovation. We need to invest in a low cost irrigation technology in the area for inter-cropping of irrigated high value crops such as vegetables and short lived fruit plants. As previously stated we need to support installation of some such irrigation facilities and inter-cropping of high value crops as technology demonstration, on cost sharing with local farmers and farmer groups.

Pre-harvest Contractors and Wholesale Commission Traders:

1. Frequent Road Blockade.

The road blockades has been regular and unscheduled in the country in recent years. This causes deficits to farmers and traders alike in the supply of highly perishable agricultural products from production areas to consumption market centers. The scheduled (Manifestation) and unscheduled (Floods) road blockades are adversely affecting the process of agricultural commercialization in the country. The farmer groups, pre-harvest contractors and mango exporters ought to put pressure on the Haitian Government to assure the uninterrupted movement of agricultural products, and to compensate for any loss or damages caused by road blockades.

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One Response to Mango Orchard

  1. This is a very good & clear sort of reference, for those people planning to organize/establish a small mango orchard. This could help a lot specially in the planning process.

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