Haiti, the third largest country in the Caribbean has a size of 27,750 square kilometers. With an estimated population of 11.4 million, it is the second most populous country behind Cuba (USDA, 2019). Haiti is not a significant producer of food and agricultural product, it depends on imports to fulfill the growing domestic demand. In 2018, Haiti imported $915 million of agricultural and related products (USDA, 2019). Other major imports include consumer oriented and bulk products, with the United States as the primary partner.
Malaysian Palm Oil Export Performance to Haiti
Within the Americas region, Haiti is one of the top importers of Malaysian palm oil. For the period of January – September 2020, Haiti is the second largest Malaysian palm oil importer after the US (refer to Table 1).
Table 1: Malaysian Palm Oil Export to the Americas region
|COUNTRY||Jan-Sept 2020||Jan-Sept 2019||Diff (MT)||Diff (%)|
|Source : MPOB|
Total Malaysian palm oil import by Haiti rose by 9.8% to 11,145 MT during Jan-Sept 2020 period from 10,146 MT registered during same period last year (refer to Table 2). In terms of products breakdown, the main product imported from Malaysia is RBD palm olein which accounted for 60% of total MPO import by Haiti. Import volume of RBD palm olein for Jan-Sept 2020 period is at 6,617 MT, decreasing slightly by 10% as compared to the same period of last year. Second largest imported product from Malaysia is cooking oil, registering an increase of more than 81% on year-to-year basis at 3,968 MT.
Table 2: Malaysian Palm Oil Export to Haiti by Type of Products
|Jan-Sept 2020||Jan-Sept 2019||Change (vol.)||Change (%)|
|Interestified Mixed Oil||66||44||22||50.0|
Imported RBD palm olein are blended and bottled under the name of local Haitian brands. Ti-Malice produced by Carribex, Gourmet by HUHSA and Bongu by Cristo S.A. are some of the top local brands, all of which are in the form of blended oils. Cooking oil is marketed in a variety of presentations and sizes; in the form of 18 to 20 liter canisters, 1 gallon or 3.8 liters containers and half-liter bottles. Some retailers also rebottled oil into smaller-sized soda bottles prior to sale (FEWS Net, 2018). Palm oil is the preferred choice of the middle incomes in Haiti and is widely utilized in the preparation of diverse Haitian dishes including snacks, fried and deep-fried foods, as well as in food processing industry.
Haitian Palm Oil Market
Haiti can be regarded as self-sufficient in staples such as maize and sorghum however, the country is structurally deficit on edible oils supply (FEWS Net, 2018). The domestic requirements of edible oils are supplied through imports, as domestic production is almost absent. According to Statista, Haiti imported around 180,000 MT of edible oils annually. Palm oil is the main oil consumed in the country and its import accounts for 80% of the total oils and fats import by Haiti (refer to Graph 3). Soybean oil is the second most imported oil, consisted for about 13% of total oils and fats import.
Graph 3 : Total Palm Oil Imported by Haiti
Malaysia and Indonesia are the main trading partners for palm oil import in Haiti. About 80% of palm oil import is sourced from Indonesia and another 20% is sourced from Malaysia. The main and the largest port of entry for imported palm oil is Port-au-Prince while a small amount is imported via Malpasse, Ouanaminthe and Cap-Haitien ports (FEWS Net, 2018). Import tariff imposed on palm oil, soybean oil and other vegetable oils is 7.5% whereas soft oils such as sunflower oil, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil have a 15% import tariff (WTO).
Edible oil import is highly concentrated with a few players. Major importers are Carribex, Huileries Haïtiennes S.A. (HUHSA), and Cristo S.A. More than 80% of the Haitian market is captured by these three companies and they also have the ability to influence market price (Fintrac, 2013). Since 60% of Haitian population live below the poverty line, the popular preference of edible oil in the country is determined by price (USDA, 2019). Other factors that have enabled the three companies to retain a significant market share are due to their long-established extensive distribution networks and existing business relationship with trading partners (Schwartz Research Group, 2019 and FEWS Net, 2018). These reasons helped the companies to effectively reached major cities throughout the country where most of the Haitians resided.
- FEWS Net, March 2018. Haiti Staple Food Market Fundamentals. http://www.fews.net
- USDA, November 2019. Opportunities Abound for US Consumer-Oriented Products
- Schwartz Research Group, April 2019. Edible Cooking Oil Market Chain in Haiti.
Prepared by: Nur Adibah Mohd Razali
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