I live in Totoye, in the municipality of Belladeres. I was one of the founders and co-coordinator of a coffee plantation association called OPCDEL since 2013. In 2014, we sent our first coffee to be sold in the United States by Just Haiti, a total of 334 pounds for the whole association.
The first coffee I sent was 69 pounds; this year I sent around 159 pounds of coffee.
Prior to founding the association, I used to sell coffee to Dominican speculators, where we had to sell it for the lowest Haitian market price. If we refuse to sell for that low price, they might seize the coffee. There are times when we would go to retrieve the coffee and found that they had taken it away. Sometimes they would steal the coffee from our house. These Dominican buyers were selling our coffee to other countries.
Right now, with the coffee we sell to Just Haiti, we get US dollars and we get more money for the coffee we sell. When I get the money, I pay for my children's schools, I pay to maintain my coffee gardens, I buy food and pay for medical care for the children. We also invest some of that money to develop new fields.
There is another portion of the profit for the association to allow us to incur operating expenses, such as the cost of sending the coffee to Port-au-Prince for shipment to the US. And we also use it for development in our community. For example: The ToToye community was offered the gift of a school, but they asked for available land, after meeting with members of the association we used the association's account to buy the land.
I tell Just Haiti thanks for making possible the improved economic situation of my family, and for the US money. We had not seen this kind of money for a long time, and now I count US dollars for the coffee I sell, and I am proud of it.