Haiti opens 2 mango processing plants in northwest

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – Haiti on Thursday launched two new mango processing factories that will help farmers export more of the juicy tropical fruit that is a $10 million-a-year business in the impoverished country.

Located in two rural towns in the mango-rich northwest, the plants aim to improve packaging and cleaning to decrease the number of mangoes bruised by poor handling and transport on rutted, sun-baked roads.

The two processing plants will employ 62 people to train mango farmers about cleaning and packaging and to better document the origin of their crops to meet standards in the United States, where most Haitian mangoes are sold.

Haiti grows dozens of different varieties that are indigenous to the country. The only type exported to the U.S. is the “Madame Francis,” which is juicy, sweet and a bit fibrous.

Last year, Haiti exported $10 million worth of mangoes, accounting for one-third of the country’s total agricultural export revenue, according to the U.S. Embassy.

With more processing plants, fruit industry leaders think they have the potential to blossom into a $90 million-a-year export business.

The new mango processing centers will increase profits for 9,500 farmers by as much as 20 percent, predicts CHF International, the U.S.-financed group that organized the project. -Jacob Kushner

At least 54 dead from disease outbreak in Haiti

By JACOB KUSHNER

The Associated Press

ST. MARC, Haiti — An outbreak of severe diarrhea in rural central Haiti has killed at least 54 people and sickened hundreds more who overwhelmed a crowded hospital Thursday seeking treatment.

Hundreds of patients lay on blankets in a parking lot outside St. Nicholas hospital in the port city of St. Marc with IVs in their arms for rehydration. As rain began to fall in the afternoon, nurses rushed to carry them inside.

Click HERE to read the full article as it appeared at Salon.

Haiti Voter Beware

Fair and inclusive elections may prove impossible in Haiti this year. In the run-up to the Nov. 28 presidential vote, post-quake logistics are presenting huge challenges: some 230,000 dead have to be purged from voter rolls and 1.3 million displaced have to be reregistered—and the constitutional deadline for that has already passed.

But an even greater problem may be Haiti’s electoral commission itself. It has sidelined 15 candidates without explanation and has excluded the Lavalas Party, which stands in opposition to the current president, René Préval. International investors and donors are worried that a tainted election will further impede the country’s already hobbling reconstruction efforts. Experts say rebuilding Haiti will necessarily infringe on individuals’ property rights—and the less trust Haitians have in their government, the quicker they’re likely to fight back. In the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, lesser issues have stirred unrest

Click HERE to see the story as it appeared in Newsweek.

Nurse Cadue Guerier is photographed for her National ID card, which will enable her to vote in November 28 elections. -Jacob Kushner.

SPECIAL REPORT: Haiti, Women, and the Elections: Following Africa’s Lead

By Anne-christine d’Adesky with Jacob Kushner

On September 25, a series of urgent SMS text messages from Haiti sent many racing to their computers and radios again, fearing the worst. Like the historic 30-second earthquake that leveled much of Haiti on January 12, a freak storm had slipped over the mountains, creating fresh calamity. Amwe! Help! ran the tweets and texts. Nouvo krase! We’re crushed again.

Click HERE to read the full story as it appeared at World Pulse magazine. 

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Power in Numbers: Reporters unite in one city to cover health care access

In Madison, Wis., 20 news organizations came together to produce dozens of stories on local health care access. The content was presented on a website that was created for the project. Not all Wisconsin media participated, though the project was eventually deemed a success. The model that was developed allowed each media outlet to “play to its respective strengths rather than conform to a particular style.”

Read the article with your IRE Journal subscription.