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 Caribbean Harvest - a Haiti Fish Farming Development
CODEP  |  Agriculture Development



Caribbean Harvest was started by Dr. Valentin Abe to re-establish fishing as a reliable occupation in Haiti. Dr. Abe is a world renowned graduate of Auburn University's highly regarded School of Aquaculture. He has experience in similar fish harvesting programs in Africa, Asia, and the USA. Dr. Abe was named to the TIME 100 in 2010 recognizing the 100 Most Influential People in the World. Caribbean Harvest is a Haitian Charitable Foundation.


SEF joined Dr. Abe in planning his Haiti projects in 2005. SEF linked with Dr. Abe and his Caribbean Harvest fingerling nursery, partnered with Gataphy, a Haitian social service organization, and formed the Caribbean Harvest Foundation to own and operate  the nursery and the fish farms and manage of the charitable village developments.  The vision  for Caribbean Harvest to be the fish farming enterprise that will build  a fishing industry for the benefit of thousands of poor Haitians.  Through Caribbean Harvest, Dr. Abe’s founding organization, technology and the operating skills are furnished to the project. The fingerling plant operates under the Caribbean Harvest banner. The fish farms are operated by the Prosperity Aquaculture Division. Social change activities in the village communities are to be implemented by a separate Charitable Foundation organization.  SEF's Caribbean Harvest Group develops funding for the project, accesses material and equipment from outside of Haiti, and  gives its management expertise.

Caribbean Harvest is poised to have an immediate and large effect in Haiti by creating this renewed fishing industry. Haitians consume only 4 pounds of fish per year per person compared to other areas in the Caribbean where fish is a staple for protein. Caribbean fish consumption is 7 times greater than in Haiti.  About 80% of Haiti’s 38 million annual pounds of fish consumption is imported.  With proper funding SEF believes that several thousand good jobs can be created in Haiti for fishermen and other employees in the industry just buy replacing imported fish with fish farm production. Export is also a very clear opportunity.

Over the past 4 years Dr. Abe led the building and the expansion of Caribbean Harvest, the most modern fish hatchery in the Caribbean.  The tilapia fingerling hatchery currently has a capacity of approximately 1.25 million tilapia fingerlings per year and will be expanded to 2.5 million in 2011.  A pilot fish farming operations were set up on Laze Azeui (also called Étang Saumâtre), Haiti’s largest lake. The pilot operations first tested growing commercial fish in small 1 cubic meter intensive growth cages to develop production techniques and determine training needs for villagers who will become the nation’s new fish farmers. Subsequently fish production was successfully tested using the 4 cubic meter cages which will be the size utilized in the fish farms

haitifish2The production model is fairly simple. Each 4 cubic meter cage is stocked with 2400 small tilapia fingerlings. The fish are fed 3 times per day with commercial fish food imported from the USA. After a four month production cycle the fish are harvested weighing approximately one pound. Seventy per cent of the harvest is processed for sale into commercial markets in Haiti. The remainder is sold in street markets or consumed by village families

Seven fish farms will be set up in the lake adjacent to the seven very poor villages that surround Lake Azeui. Every farm will have 100 cages. Each village family will be provided with 2 cages, an initial charge of fingerlings and sufficient food for the first four month cycle. Assuming two cycles per year for their 2 cages every family will generate $3,000 of annual income and yield 3,000 pounds of fish per year. A village will produce 150,000 pounds of fish annually and $150,000 in income

Since the process is well proven Caribbean Harvest through Prosperity Aquaculture can create jobs essentially as fast as it receives funding to purchase the cages and the start up supplies of fingerlings and feed. For one family the estimated cost of 2 cages plus start up materials is $2,200 (creating one job and $3,000 per year in income).  For 1000 jobs the fish farm investment required is $ 2.2 million with an annual production of 3 million pounds of fish. For 5000 jobs $11 million is required producing 15 million pounds of fish. An additional $250,000 investment will be required for a fish processing facility capable of producing export quality fish and another $250,000 initially to expand the nursery to match fish farm production.


Quite obviously the costs to create these new jobs are quite low compared to the expected benefits. Job growth rates will be dependent on how quickly funding can be obtained, The Social Enterprise Fund is helping to grow the fish farms one job at a time with each $2,200 donation. Ultimately SEF seeks to receive a slice of the substantial public or foundation funds that will target Haiti jobs. These venues , however, have been difficult to breach. SEF hopes that its low, cost fast response plans will get the attention of fund managers…especially after Dr. Abe’s credibility has been confirmed with his appointment to the TIME 100.  

Following the earthquake an aggressive action plan has been approved by the Board: 1) 240 New cages will be installed in Lake Azeui  enabling 3 of Lake Azeui’s 7 villages to have 100 cages each 2) a commercial fish processing plant will be constructed on the Carrbean Harvest site in Croix des Bouquets 3) a solar system will be installed to provide power to cover the expanded fingerling needs 4) fish farm development will begin on Lake Peligre in cooperation with Dr. Paul Farmer to bring economic development to Haiti's central plateau. and 5) an abandoned fish farm operation in the northeast will be resurrected to renew fish farming activities to that important region in Haiti. 

Funding demands for these projects exceed $1.5 million. Every size donation ($10-$10,000) is needed. Please give generously!

Click here to see estimates of current needs.

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