Former President Bill Clinton has just returned to the U.S. from his fourth targeted investment trip to Haiti announcing $700,000 in new grants for agricultural, energy, and environmental development.
“A strong agricultural sector is important for food security, national health, as well as economic growth and job creation,” he said.
A U.N. Special Envoy to Haiti since 2009, Clinton brought potential investors representing the perfume, restaurant, and apparel industries with him for the two-day trip, including popular Italian-American chef Mario Batali, who was scouting out foods that could be used in his restaurants.
“I could see using their coffee. I could see using their mangoes. I could see using their rum. I could see using just about everything we’ve bumped into,” he said.
Haiti’s current administration has been trying to attract investors that have been deterred by the many challenges the country faces, but Clinton is determined that they will get back on course, saying, “This is a place of staggering potential.”
Some of the new projects announced include:
– Securing a multi-million dollar investment by Dutch brewing company Heineken to upgrade and expand their Haitian brewery operations, including an agreement to begin locally sourcing 20% of their raw materials, including sorghum, and 40% of their packaging materials, thus providing more farming and manufacturing jobs.
– $200,000 to expand nurseries including the planting of thousands of trees, expanding nursery operations, training farmers, and purchasing new equipment in order to help Haiti’s unique island environment recover after suffering mass deforestation and soil erosion.
– $150,000 to further develop coffee farming, train coffee farmers, and offer courses on best practices.
– $100,000 to manufacture non-poisonous briquettes to fuel eco-friendly cook stoves for placement in area schools.
– $100,000 to further develop solar-powered water pumping systems for gardens and crop fields which will allow farmers to grow high-nutrition crops in the dry season.
– The Clinton Foundation is partnering with Zanmi Agricole and the Centre de Formation Fritz Lafontant to develop a seed bank to increase harvest yields.
– The Haitian Ministry of Environment is donating ten thousand hectares of land in the north of the country as part of a new forest initiative being developed in partnership with the Clinton Foundation and Virgin Unite.
– Jordan N. Hunt
Source: AP, Clinton Foundation