The Cocoa festival
WHY A COCOA FESTIVAL?
The farming of cocoa farming has always been important in Haitian economy, and in that of the town of Dame-Marie, the main production center of this commodity in the entire department of Grand Anse. In middle of the last century, two packing and export plants were established in town. They operated at full capacity. In October of 1954, Hurricane Hazel destroyed them both. In the decades that followed, various stimulus cocoa producing programs were established, resulting in a increased confidence on the part of farmers, who then organized into production and marketing cooperatives.
Unfortunately, a great many political events deeply shook the country, most notably since 1991– this broke the momentum of these cooperatives and reinforced the steady decline in cocoa production as a cash crop for most Grande-Anse based farmers.
The Cocoa festival aims to restore the rightful place of the Grand-Anse county and that of all those who were affected by this plantation crisis by developing a tourism system based on cocoa and natural resources.
The Cocoa festival will open new opportunities for farmers and all participants in this sector, targeting the following objectives:
- TO INITIATE a movement encouraging the return to cultivation of cocoa, by reflecting on the opportunities and constraints of the sector;
- TO EDUCATE and INFORM the public and farmers about the importance of the cultivation of this provision, the environment, but also for the familial and national economy;
- TO CREATE A NETWORK between Grand Anse cooperatives and those of other regions of the country (especially the North) and facilitate an exchange between the these different contributors;
- TO PROMOTE the concept of fair trade among farmers and to encourage them to integrate this economically interesting circuit;
- TO BRING the State and relevant organizations to support farmers by improving their agricultural credit while contributing to the regeneration of plantations;
- TO ENCOURAGE WOMEN to improve their technical processing of cocoa, and to help them find a market for processed products.