More Good News From Haiti : Planet Money We've been following the struggle of the mango farmers of Casale since our first visit to Haiti back in February. Today we've got an update from exporter Jean Maurice Buteau, also known as 'Mango Man.'
NPR logo More Good News From Haiti

More Good News From Haiti

Farmers load their mangos onto donkeys for transport into the city. Chana Joffe-Walt hide caption

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Chana Joffe-Walt

We've been following the story of the mango farmers of Casale since Adam and Chana's first visit to Haiti back in February.

When we first met them, many of the farmers were struggling to get by. They were growing plenty of mangos, but they didn't have the infrastructure to keep them clean and undamaged until they could be picked up by exporters. Many of the mangos ended up bruised or rotten and couldn't be sold.

Exporter Jean Maurice Buteau, also known as "Mango Man," had a plan to fix this. He was convinced that if he could get the farmers crates to transport the mangos and build a center where everyone could clean and store them, he could increase the size of his exports and everyone could make a lot more money. It sounded easy, but as we've learned in Haiti, things that sound easy, hardly ever are. As we've reported the story, we have seen the farmers and exporters face many bureaucratic hurdles.

Today we got an update from Jean Maurice, and we're happy to say it's good news.

Jean Maurice reports that the center is practically completed, and he shares these photos as evidence of how far they've come since our last visit.

A mango processing center.
Jean Maurice Buteau

September, 2010. Jean Maurice Buteau hide caption

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Jean Maurice Buteau

Although it may not look like much, keep in mind that when we last visited in June, this structure was not even started and all the work was being done by volunteers from the surrounding area. Local men had shown up for free to help dig up the site, while other men worked on a water pipeline for the center miles away.

June 2010. Adam Davidson hide caption

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Adam Davidson
Digging up an old water line in Haiti.
Adam Davidson