WHEN Spencer Jean Pierre returned to Haiti after graduating in veterinary medicine in Cuba, he was pleasantly surprised to see how many business opportunities the relatively under-developed agricultural sector offered.
Pierre’s parents were farmers, and so he knew the business from the bottom up. Having set up Ele-Haiti in 2010, the first thing he did was begin rearing goats and poultry, and the second was to open a specialist shop where he sold veterinary medicines and a wide range of accessories.
From having run the business himself in the early days, it now has a staff of 12 just two years later. On average, Ele-Haiti sells around 5,000 chickens a week, although at festival times that can rise to 15,000 or even 20,000 a week. It also keeps a herd of around 600 goats.
Amongst the company’s largest clients are the international aid agency, World Vision, along with Oxfam and FML, and little by little their reputation for veterinary excellence is spreading throughout the country, says Pierre.
His aim now is to ensure that as much of the food consumed in Haiti carries the “Made in Haiti” label rather than being imported from abroad.
“There’s no reason at all why we cannot eat only Haitian fruit, spices and vegetables”, he says. “And if we open an abbatoir, we can ensure not only the quality of the meat we eat, but its traceability as well.”