Coffee production is a very important industry in Haiti. More than 200,000 families grow coffee in order to earn the income they need to feed themselves and send their children to school. Coffee is Haiti’s number one exported crop, and the sector generates tens of thousands of seasonal jobs. In this almost entirely deforested country, ensuring the survival of the agro-forestry systems that are used to grow coffee, citrus fruit, and avocados is an environmental priority. However, the coffee sector is in the midst of a crisis due to chronic political insecurity, the degradation of infrastructure and services, price volatility, prices that make it difficult for producers to turn a profit, and a lack of competition among players in the industry. Haiti is currently producing only half as much coffee as it was 50 years ago. Yields are extremely low, and the percentage of low-quality coffee deemed unfit for export can sometimes reach as high as 50%.
About 15 years ago, through the coordinated effots of AVSF and French buyers such as Ethiquable and Malongo, cooperatives in Haiti began working to improve the quality of their coffee production by fermenting and washing their beans. These cooperatives also began exporting their production directly to fair-trade markets.
Today, 25 cooperatives (representing 10,000 smallholders and their facilities) export their production in small quantities. In late 2012, AVSF launched a new activity called ”Korékafé.” The activity has four major objectives: