After Haiti’s devastating earthquake three years ago, money flowed in. Today many funders have retreated, but a 5,000-farmer coffee-growing coop is showing it can manage with guidance and small loans.
Daniel Jensen at Global Envision (a Mercy Corps blog) writes, “Root Capital is providing loans and consulting expertise to COOPCAB, a Haitian coffee co-op that markets its products internationally while investing money in local reforestation efforts that improve its own production. The cooperative, which has expanded six-fold under Root Capital’s guidance, now includes 5,000 members …
“Managing COOPCAB comes with its own set of challenges. Meeting them requires a model that creates local business leaders rather than simply employing foreign relief workers. Root Capital’s Willy Foote explains:
” ‘COOPCAB … is managed by local Haitian farmers with little formal training in financial management and accounting. … As a consequence, we’ve had to innovate and hone our business model in Haiti, slowing our lending in the short term while accelerating and deepening our financial advisory services program.’ …
“Soon, Haitian entrepreneurs may find new opportunities to replicate COOPCAB’s model, as [U.S.] Ambassador [Paul] Altidor has asked Foote to help advise formal policy decisions. Haitian minister of agriculture Thomas Jacques also plans to create a rice commission focused on increasing domestic production.” More.
Consider buying your coffee beans at COOPCAB and giving Haiti a helping hand.