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Whole Trade Haitian Mangoes

By Matt Rogers, May 28, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Matt Rogers

We’re celebrating another Whole Trade Haitian mango season here at Whole Foods Market.  These juicy tropical treats will be in most of our stores for a few more weeks, so there’s still time to grab some if you’ve missed them so far.

A small group of us returned to Haiti this April to visit with our partners on the ground and to plan the coming season.  We were amazed at the progress that has been made in the past year and wanted to share the news with you.

This previous post, including a great video, covers the unique nature of our Whole Trade program.  (And this post shares mango recipes!) Whole Foods Market remains the only buyer of the limited supply of Fair Trade Certified mangos from Haiti.  While we do our part each year to help expand supply and build this program, which ensures that more money gets to the small farmers, the real hard work is done by a group of non-governmental organizations and business people whose deep dedication to fair trade makes it all happen.

We were excited to hear about two ways that the program is having an impact:

1) More farmers are joining the program and

2) they are getting more money for their mangos. 

Here’s how:

More farmers: Last year, we purchased mangos from seven Fair Trade Certified farmer groups. 

During our visit, we checked in with the leaders of two of these groups.  Both reported that their membership is growing quickly as word of the premium price spreads in their communities.  They spoke of excitement at their meetings and they were expecting to deliver lots of mangos this year.  We met with one farmer who had used his increased mango income to buy a goat, which has since had kids.  He was grateful to have been able to leverage his profits in this lasting way.  We thanked them for their work and assured them that we were ready to receive their fruit again this year.

The most impressive development this year is the new farmer groups organized and trained by TechnoServe, an innovative international nonprofit that helps entrepreneurial men and women in poor areas of the developing world to build businesses.  TechnoServe’s Haiti Hope Project is a  partnership between The Coca-Cola Company, the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, the US Agency for International Development, and TechnoServe that aims to double the incomes of 25,000 Haitian mango farmers over five years. 

Their expert field staff has guided 10 new groups through the intense training required to participate in the program, more than doubling the number of Fair Trade Certified farmer groups that supply Whole Foods Market. 

As a result, more than a thousand additional farmers will receive a premium price for their fruit this year.  These new groups represent expansion in other ways too:  all of the new groups are in geographical areas of Haiti not currently represented in the program and 45% of the new farmers signed up by TechnoServe are women.

More money: Reliable data is not available, so the following numbers are very rough but they should give you an idea of the benefit to farmers of more direct market access.  Most farmers in Haiti sell their entire harvest to middle men because they need the cash and they may not have another opportunity to sell their fruit.  A farmer in a rural area with few market options might earn $15 for the mangos on an entire tree. 

Alternatively, a farmer can cut down his or her tree to make charcoal for a better (though single year) return.  A good size tree could produce up to 5 bags of charcoal, perhaps returning $40 to the farmer that year.  (We watched a huge truck get filled with charcoal across the street from a meeting we attended with one of the new groups.) Those farmers who have access to one of the groups we buy from can sell their mangos through the Fair Trade Certified program by the dozen. 

On an average size tree, a farmer could earn $52 each year.  Again, these numbers are rough and intended only to explain the drastic difference training, organization and market access can have on farmers. Each of the farmer groups we met with thanked us for our interest and support, and we want to pass that thanks along to all of you.  The “work” on this end of the supply chain is easy – enjoy this unique, tasty, seasonal fruit and know that the small act of enjoying a mango can help a real person in Haiti.

Thanks to our partners at TechnoServe, Fair Trade USA, Perry Exports and Tropic Trade LLC for their contributions to this post and for their groundbreaking work building this program year after year.

Bon bagay!  (Good stuff!) Have you tried Haitian mangos?

Category: Produce, Whole Trade

 

24 Comments

Comments

thorathome says ...
Great work, all. I like the 'Trade, Not Aid' approach. I'll go buy some mangoes at Whole Foods.
05/30/2012 12:03:46 PM CDT
alice says ...
Hi, My question is are these the Mango's that are said to help lose weight? I am trying to fine them , I hope they are. Thank you
05/30/2012 3:24:20 PM CDT
Catie says ...
I have visited Haiti twice, and I have to say, their mangoes are amazing! The flavor is so much richer than typical mangoes in the US. I am going to have to buy some now!
05/30/2012 4:14:56 PM CDT
Dorothy Pech says ...
Lived in Haiti 3 years in early 90's. Hooray for Whole Foods. What a great way to help. I, too, will get those mangoes...
05/30/2012 4:31:02 PM CDT
Mc says ...
Thank you for helping my country...The heart of Whole Foods is one of the many reasons I shop there...
05/30/2012 5:32:37 PM CDT
mindy says ...
I love these mangos and now look forward to them every year. I appreciate the sale time as mangos can be expensive, though I know how much picking, planning, transporting it all involves, which does make the pricing a miracle. Thanks so for doing this. These to me are the only edible mangos: the others just don't ripen like the yellow Haitian ones do. Thanks for the update. I love how this story continues to develop. I followed it before WHOLE FOODS got involved, due to NPR report, that suggested so much failure of efforts of NGOs. Now all good news! YAYY!
05/30/2012 7:20:44 PM CDT
Marie says ...
This is some good and encouraging news. I'm glad that Whole Foods' involvement is continuing and I echo "Thoratome"'s thoughts on "Trade, not Aid" because it is so much more sustainable and pro development. I will make sure I get some before they're gone.
05/30/2012 8:57:47 PM CDT
Su-z says ...
Loved reading about the efforts to help these farmers help themselves. I will be shopping this weekend and will make a point of buying some Haitian mangoes. This is how I prefer to help people --by teaching them to fish and then buying their catch! Good job Whole Foods.
05/30/2012 9:58:45 PM CDT
Eddie says ...
Congratulations on a Haitian sucsess. I volunteer with an organization engaged in building healthcare capacity in Haiti by training and mentoring Haitian healthcare workers. I understand the chanllenges Whole Foods had to work through and the dedication involved to get to this point. Sustainability is a large part of the solution to help Haiti move forward. Thank you for your efforts there!
05/31/2012 11:28:51 AM CDT
jean claude says ...
the more mangoes you eat less sun tan you are going to use beside loosing weight every thing is natural they always come before the summer time just like the oranges before the cold season. I give you guys too much of my secret ... Pharmacy wont make that money by reading those lines .
05/31/2012 7:07:34 PM CDT
Emma says ...
Thank you Whole Foods for helping Haitian farmers. I wish more companies would do what you guys are doing. I will definitely stop by for some Haitian mangoes.
05/31/2012 8:11:29 PM CDT
Baller says ...
Great story. We hope next year 10000 farmers can join and benefit from this program. Everyone loves to have more haitian mangoes! Maybe these mangoes can be preserved and sold in every whole food stores for a whole year. It is possible. There are many different varieties of great haitian mangoes. Mango franscique is the best. WE GOT MANGOES IN THE WORLD FOR YOU. WE CAN DO IT!!!
05/31/2012 8:50:39 PM CDT
Mina says ...
As a Haitian, i remember many summers of eating mangoes and running the streets. Mangoes are a big part of Haiti's agricultural substance and i thank you all from wholefoods for putting that project in place. Charcoal making is devastrous to the entire island-less of it will keep us going strong. thank you for sharing
06/01/2012 12:13:43 PM CDT
Erin says ...
I haven't had
06/05/2012 7:59:43 AM CDT
Erin says ...
I haven't had Haitian Mangoes from Whole Foods yet .I am planning my 1st trip to Whole Foods later this week. But I have had Haitian mangoes the 2 yrs. I went to Haiti on medical mission trips. There were Mango trees growing in the yard of the yard of the church where we held our clinics. We had canopies set up & we'd hear a thud from one falling & hitting the canopies & @ 1st we'd go running to find it. Once the Haitians who were helping us saw how excited we were about the mangoes when we heard the thud the Haitians would yell "Mahngoes" & would run to find it & then present it to one of us. They were the best & 1st mangoes, probably the best fruit I'd ever eaten. When I came back to the states & bought mangoes the were horrid, they didn't even slightly resemble the mangoes in Haiti. I'm so hoping that the Haitian mangoes @ Whole Foods are even 1/2 as good as the ones I had in Haiti. I'm also extremely gratified to see Whole Foods joining this initiative. The horrible poverty, sanitation, lack of medical care, etc. are like nothing like what most people could even fathom or imagine & that was before that horrendous earthquake & the Haitian people are the most friendly, grateful, loving people I've ever met
06/05/2012 8:23:38 AM CDT
Nadine Maurice says ...
I love these mangoes please get some more soooooon
10/26/2012 10:12:09 PM CDT
carmen eyzaguirre says ...
I'am very happy for the opening of a wholefood store in Virginia Beach, love the store, also i would like to know when you going to have the wonderful haitian mangos. thank you carmen
12/18/2012 1:00:54 PM CST
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@CARMEN - Since our products vary between locations, I would encourage you to reach out directly to the Virginia Beach store to see what they have in stock. You can call them directly at 757-422-0444.
12/19/2012 9:45:58 AM CST
Robert B. says ...
Great job Whole Food, I presently live in Florida and I miss my mangoes. I find lot of types of mangoes here but it's not the same thing. Even the ones imported from Haiti are different from what I used to eat at Hinche Haiti. Meanwhile I hope I can make it down there this year and enjoy the real thing. In the near future, I will be became a vendor myself. I own approximately 30 acres close to Hinche covered with mangoes.
02/13/2013 1:51:40 PM CST
Quyen says ...
I just saw these in the stores today. I hadn't realized that the window for exporting them was so slim. While I can get a case of 14 altulfo mangoes for $10 elsewhere, I've been searching for these Haitian mangoes for a while.
06/23/2013 8:08:47 PM CDT
Glenn says ...
we don't have a Whole Foods nearby but from the bottom of our hearts we say "thank you" for recognizing what commitment means. our son was perhaps one of the dedicated field agents w/ TechnoServe that you met during your visit. his passion to help those who are marginalized in Haiti and elsewhere finds traction and encourages him and others like him to maintain their commitment to helping humans.
08/09/2013 9:54:29 AM CDT
Manny says ...
Haitian organic mangoes are great no doubt, so are the organic eggplants and beets. I hope the trade will continue by helping Haitian farmers selling those two products. I am well aware of a large regions in Haiti that cultivate enormous quantity of organic beets and eggplants. Well done Wholefoods! keep up with the great work.
09/03/2013 9:47:43 PM CDT
Karen Allen Failinger says ...
Yes, they are bon bagay! I've tried them and they're great! Have you found many other varieties? I have heard there are more than 20 on the island of Haiti...bring it on!
01/23/2014 8:27:08 PM CST
Donna says ...
These Haitian mangoes are exquisite. I have been to your Roswell, GA store 2x and will be back before the season is over.
05/30/2014 12:50:33 PM CDT