Haitian Government Signs Deal for First Agricultural Free Zone

A memorandum of understanding was signed by government of Haiti (GOH) officials and a business investor, in anticipation of an Agricultural Free Zone (AFZ), Haiti's first. The AFZ will be developed in the town of Nourribo.


Signatories Trade and Industry Minister, Wilson Laleau; Directorate of Free Zones Director General, Rode Préval; and Agitrans CEO, Jovenel Moïse, say the project will produce 13,000 employment opportunities over a five-year span. Minister Laleau emphasized the Martelly-Lamothe government wants to support and foster ". . . rapid investment in all sectors". They also welcome more private investment in "structural projects in agriculture . . ."

Haiti, known as the poorest country in the western hemisphere, is a victim of food insufficiency. Causes are soil erosion and barrenness, mountainous terrain, and torrential rains. Of Haiti's ten million population, just over half consume an adequate diet. The rest suffer from malnutrition. One-third of crop yields rot because of inadequate processing methods, absence of storage houses, and transportation infrastructure.

The GOH is to blame for the under-performing agricultural sector, which makes up a large portion of the country's economy. According to government stats for 2009-2010, the GOH apportioned only seven percent of its budget to agriculture.

The Nourribo project needs to export 70% of the 20,000 tons of organic bananas it is scheduled to produce. As a free zone, it can only qualify for tax concessions by meeting this quota, and also to take advantage of favorable customs rates.

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Read more: Wilson Laleau, Agriculture, Free Zone, Nourribo, Agriculture and Food

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