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Investing In Haiti's Future

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush speak about giving aid to Haiti. (file)

The U.S. will provide an initial contribution of 1 million dollars to the Haiti Hope Project to develop a sustainable mango industry in Haiti.

The United States Government through its development agency, the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, will provide an initial contribution of 1 million dollars to the Haiti Hope Project, a public-private initiative that aims to develop a sustainable mango industry in Haiti.

In March of this year, The Coca-Cola Company launched the Haiti Hope Project with the introduction of its Odwalla Haiti Hope Mango Lime-Aid, [Odwalla is a subsidiary company of Coca-Cola] whose profits directly support the Project. Total investment in the Haiti Hope Project now $7.5 million, with $3.5 million from the Coca-Cola Company, $3 million from the Inter-American Development Bank's Multilateral Investment Fund and $1 million from the United States Government. Technoserve, a non-governmental organization based in Washington, D.C. that helps men and women entrepreneurs in the developing world, will be implementing the Project in Haiti.

The Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund recently announced that it will contribute over $500,000 to support the formation and financing of mango producer groups, nurseries and collection centers to benefit farmers.

The Haiti Hope project will benefit more than 60 percent of the Haitian labor force in the agriculture sector by growing local capacity, taking important steps towards sustainable development and promoting economic stability and growth. The Project aims to empower 25,000 Haitian farmers by doubling their farm income.

This initiative builds on a similar collaboration between The Coca-Cola Company and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve mango and passion fruit value chains in Kenya and Uganda. The goals of the Haiti Hope Project are to contribute to the long-term development of Haiti by doubling farm income and improving the standard of living of farmers and their families, with a particular focus on women farmers.

"Haiti's agricultural sector is critical to the country's long-term economic growth," said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. "That's why we are focusing so much of our reconstruction efforts in this area."

As U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten noted, "Empowering the people of Haiti and embracing their entrepreneurial spirit, while working in alignment with the Government of Haiti, will be critical in helping Haiti build back better."