Haiti Hope: Innovating the Mango Value Chain
This case study examines a market-based approach to economic development through the eyes of NGO TechnoServe's project manager, implementing a US$9.5 five-year public-private partnership between Coca-Cola, IDB, and USAID. The case ends at the beginning of the final year of the project, presents the project's advances, and invites students to position themselves in front of three options regarding the exit strategy to be deployed to ensure sustainability. Haiti Hope was to provide 25,000 Haitian farmers with world-class business and industry expertise to help them grow mangos more efficiently and abundantly, and secure access to new markets with the aim of doubling their income and raising their standard of living and, ultimately, contributing to the revitalization of the Haitian economy. The project structure devised by the partners to govern execution consisted of an implementation team and operating and steering committees. The partners with the implementer, TechnoServe, had agreed on a strategy that turned out to be difficult to execute due to local institutions, farmer cooperatives, which acted as gatekeepers and made it difficult to reach the critical mass of farmers to participate in the project. TechnoServe's project manager had to convince the partners to shift strategy to work directly with cooperative members rather than with the leadership. The project manager succeeded - Partners accepted to create a new intermediary channel with and for smallholder farmers, termed Producer Business Groups (PBGs). PBGs eschewed the diverse political goals of most cooperatives, and focused on the production and commercialization of members' mangoes and other agricultural products. By 2013, 18,000 farmers had been organized into PBGs for better access to markets, information and agricultural extension services, and approximately 70% of them had adopted best practices from training. Project trained farmers were earning higher prices for mangoes, which rose by 32% on average. By 2014, 3,356 of these farmers were selling directly to exporters via this new PBG channel. With the project entering its final year of implementation, only one season remained for course corrections and formulation of an exit strategy that ensured that every player was profitable, and that local actors possessed both the motivation and capability to take over the activities being performed by TechnoServe.