Mango crop key to Haiti’s future

01/04/2011 11:57:14 AM
Mike Hornick

Nearly a year after Haiti’s big earthquake, the aid efforts of Homestead, Fla.-based Fresh King continue.

An importer of Haitian mangoes, Fresh King focused on relief instead after the 7.0 Richter scale earthquake on Jan. 12 and its aftermath left an estimated 230,000 dead and many more injured or homeless.

“In 2010 we shipped seven container loads of supplies to Haiti,” said Alvaro Perpuly, Fresh King’s general manager. “We don’t do the Haitian mangoes like in the past. We’ve been concentrating more on helping them get back on their feet.”

The cargo varies and includes peanut products, powdered milk and construction equipment, all donated by industry. “We get a couple pallets of this and that and we send a container,” Perpuly said of the ongoing project.

While Fresh King focuses on Florida mangoes, the company does expect the Caribbean nation to export again.

“We will do the mango there next year,” Perpuly said. “They will have to (export). It’s one of the big incomes for that country. They want to and if the conditions are there they will, as soon as they can.”

“I’m hopeful for the Haitian mango industry,” said Ronnie Cohen, vice president of sales at River Edge, N.J.-based Vision Import Group LLC and the new chairman of the National Mango Board.

“The trees are still there,” he said. “It’s about ports, roads, packing plants, water treatment. In Haiti it’s always an issue of infrastructure. It depends on how the nations of the world help them and on what their own country can do.

“At the board, we’re going to reach out and help them as we’re able. Helping them out will help our whole industry.”



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