the mif blog

Stories of inspiring entrepreneurs and organizations, discussion and commentary of new trends in private sector development, and the latest events and publications.

Cracking the Nut on Agricultural Supply Chains

By Yolanda Strachan

Photo: MIF 2009 Cambadu retailers, Uruguay. 

Last month, the Cracking the Nut Conference on Sustainable Sourcing for Agricultural Supply Chains brought together more than 180 representatives of financial institutions, multinational food companies, technical assistance providers, and donor agencies to discuss some of the challenges and new approaches related to sourcing agricultural products sustainably.  Over two days there were more than 20 sessions organized according to three themes: Ensuring food safety and sustainability, Facilitating traceability and certification, and Creatively financing supply chains.  The conference raised many interesting questions and offered a number of cases and models that have the potential for scale and replication in our region. While it’s impossible to summarize everything that was said, here are a 3 take-aways gathered from my interactions with fellow nut crackers:

Haitian chocolate: You say cocoa, I say cacao

By Yolanda Strachan

By Nara Meli and Yolanda Strachan

Global demand for specialty cocoa beans is growing, and Haiti’s cocoa producers have an opportunity to capture a share of this expanding market. Haiti has a competitive advantage in the production of both organic and fine flavor cocoa. Already, most producers use organic methods because of the absence of major pests and diseases on farms.  The country is also endowed with its own indigenouscriollo variety, providing a strong foundation for producing Haitian fine flavor cocoa in the future.  Criollo beans are prized for their by high-end chocolatiers, pastry companies and luxury European chocolate brands that are willing to pay a premium price for high quality beans.