Media CenterCacao d’Ayti Haitian Cacao Conference

Photo courtesy of Tijs Zwinkels, Creative Commons License

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Tom Price
Communications Officer, Baltimore
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]

Stephan Jean Pierre
Coordinator of Agriculture Programs, Haiti
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]


The Government of Haiti hosts a foundational forum in partnership with
Catholic Relief Services for exchange on the future of the cacao value chain

PORT-AU-PRINCE, June 21, 2018 – Haiti’s cacao industry will convene on June 21 and 22 to formulate the first nationwide plan aimed at galvanizing growth of the burgeoning cacao sector and turning the Caribbean country into an internationally-recognized producer of cacao for domestic and international markets.

Held in Port-au-Prince, the “Cacao d’Ayiti” conference will be hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture, sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Swiss Cooperation and facilitated by Catholic Relief Services (CRS). 

Representatives from across the cacao value chain—from producers and cooperatives to exporters and buyers—will share experiences and ideas with financial institutions and donors to develop a shared vision for the cacao sector, form partnerships and lay the foundation for boosting rural incomes and fostering resilience at grass roots and international levels.

Haiti’s third largest agricultural export, cacao plays a critical role in the country’s economy. An estimated 130,000 Haitians depend on cacao for their essential livelihoods.

It is easily intercropped with annual staples as part of an agroforestry system that includes hardwoods and fruit trees, diversifying farmers’ incomes and restoring deforested areas while improving soil quality. Cacao accounts for a significant proportion of Haiti’s remaining forest coverage and is therefore critical for protection of the environment. For an island frequently hit by natural disaster, cacao is critical to the nation’s economic stability.

“Everyone loves chocolate. In Haiti, cacao plays a fundamental role in families’ livelihoods—it pays for education and healthcare, paving the way to prosperity,” said Chris Bessey, country representative for Catholic Relief Services in Haiti. "CRS is thrilled to partner with the public and private sector collectively to cultivate a shared vision for cacao.”

The conference will be held June 21-22, 2018 at Hôtel Marriott, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The agenda includes presentations from national and international experts specialized on value chains, production, markets, finance, governance and research. Each presentation will be accompanied by Q&A and collective analysis led by a strategist and facilitators experienced in the cacao sector. A high-level cocktail hour will be hosted on the evening of the 21st, an opportunity for intersectoral exchange and sharing headlines of the conference content.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, please visit or and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, @CatholicRelief@CRSnewsYouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

Robyn Fieser

Regional Marketing Manager - LACRO

Robyn Fieser
June 21, 2018

Based in Bogotá, Colombia

Robyn is the regional marketing manager for CRS in Latin America and the Caribbean. She raises awareness about CRS’ humanitarian and disaster relief programs, serving as a contact for key news outlets and coordinating coverage of emergency and development stories. From a base in Bogata, Colombia, she travels throughout the region to...More