On February 22, 2019, USAID’s Local Enterprise and Value Chain Enhancement (LEVE) Project awarded Le Vieux Chardo a partner contribution grant of $65,000 USD to co-finance the transportation and packing of their grape harvest, as well as a solar energy system. Le Vieux Chardo produces and markets grapes in Chardonnières in the South of Haiti. LEVE’s support will allow the company to efficiently market the grapes in the metropolitan area and, thus, increasing the market value of locally-grown grapes, resulting in encouraging grape production and reducing imports.
Apples and grapes are the two imported fruits that are always presents on the supermarket shelves throughout metropolitan Port-au-Prince. The consumption of fresh grapes has been steadily increasing in Haiti to reach USD 500,000 in 2018. Chardonnières, located in the southern coast of Haiti, has been producing grapes since the the colonial days. In decline until the creation of the Le Vieux Chardo and with the help of several partners like the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and USAID LEVE, the company has been promoting the production of grapes so that the product could rival imported grapes. This goal now achieved, the new challenge is marketing the product.
With the LEVE grant, Le Vieux Chardo will be able will be able to pack, transport and market the grapes so that they can compete in the metropolitan supermarkets with imports. This investment will enable sales to at least double since the value of grapes in Port-au-Prince can be two or three times higher than in the Chardonnières area. Consequently, the entire value chain will benefit from higher revenues, five permanent new jobs will be created and, if the forecasted production increases hold, at least twenty-five additional seasonal jobs.
At the signing ceremony, the owner of Le Vieux Chardo, Alix Denis Hibbart said, “We are very pleased with this USAID grant. This investment will enable us improve our efficiency so we can be more competitive in the Port-au-Prince Metropolitan market and this will increase our sales,” he explains. “The USAID grant will allow more of our partner farmers to produce and sell grapes, thereby providing them and their families with improved livelihoods.”
“Le Vieux Chardo” started in 2011 and was formalized in 2016 with the idea of developing a full value chain of grape products. Following the example of other countries, it wants not only to produce fresh grapes for consumption but later on transform its grapes in juice and jams. These processes will require substantial investments and training but they are the natural evolution of this business and will contribute to make Chardonnières, the capital city of grapes for Haiti and, why not, for the whole Caribbean area. In pursuit of this vision, Le Vieux Chardo is trying to engage all the actors in the value chain by providing the seedlings to famers and helping to marketing their products.
With LEVE’s support, Le Vieux Chardo’s project will help address one of the Government of Haiti’s (GoH) objectives to stimulate agricultural production in order to improve food security and reduce the country’s dependency on imports.