The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the closure of its mango pre-clearance programme in Haiti, blaming the worsening challenges faced by its inspectors there.
The closure is expected to take effect at the end of January next year.
The USDA said the challenges in Haiti have made it impossible for inspectors to work safely, disclosing that the move was in alignment with information received from the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince.
Jorge Abad, Area Director for Central America and The Caribbean at the USDA Preclearance and Offshore Programme, said USAID has placed all 10 inspectors in Haiti on indefinite paid leave, starting on October 10 this year and that the team will remain on leave until the programme officially closes.
Officials in Haiti said the closure will seriously affect farmers, noting that last year, the sector recorded more than US$12 million in revenue.
So far this year however the volume of mangoes from Haiti, one of the leading producers of Francisque mangoes in the Caribbean and Central America, has declined to about 48 per cent of last year’s output.