Haitian artisans who work with sisal to create a variety of handcrafts are an important group of members in the CPCS Haiti family. Using, raw sisal fiber, locally available dyes and a variety of other materials, these artists create beautiful baskets, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, cell phone carriers and table decorations.
We are pleased to announce that their products are now available to anyone through our online store. This is more than just a “fair market” business. Every cent paid for these products returns to the artists and the
communities served by the cooperative. Here is how it works.
CPCS (Cooperative de Production et de Commercialisation de Sisal) purchases items from the artists, paying them a fair local price. The cooperative then has the products treated for exportation and pays for their shipment to its USA base. The items are then photographed, described for market and placed on the CPCS Haiti website for sale. When the item sells, 100% of the selling price returns to Haiti through the cooperative. Annually, the cooperative members decide how to use these profits. Some may be returned to the artisans and sisal producers on a pro rata basis. The cooperative may also decide to use some of its profits to support community development projects in its communities.
You can browse and buy these unique items in our store with the assurance that your purchase is a one-of-a-kind handmade item. You can also enjoy knowing that you have helped Haitian families feed, clothe, and educate their children. This cooperative has the goal of promoting sustainable commerce with sisal for the benefit of its members and the communities where they live.
Go to this link to browse and buy: CPCS Haiti Online Store
On February 27, 2015, the National Council on Cooperatives (Conseil National des Cooperatives [CNC]) issued an "Autorisation de Fonctionnement" (an Authorization to Function) to the Coopérative de Production et de Commercialisation de Sisal (CPCS). In effect, this authorization gives the cooperative the right to exist under Haitian law. This legal status gives the organization the right to enroll members, own property, and function in all legal ways under the Haitian legislation defining and governing cooperatives. Cooperatives are designed to allow Haitian citizens to band together and help one another accomplish a specified purpose. The purpose of this cooperative is to encourage production and commercialization of the fiber extracted from the plant agave sisalana, commonly known as sisal.
Sisal has a long history in Haiti. Because of its ability to flourish in times of rain or drought, it grows well in Haiti's climate. It was once produced on large plantations in Haiti, but the introduction of synthetic fibers nearly killed the sisal market. Reduced demand for the natural fiber caused prices to plummet and large and small operations ceased production. Sisal gardens were left untended and often replaced by small trees used to produce charcoal.
After years of producing synthetic fibers, people all over the world have begun to realize that producing tons of material that is not biodegradable creates a huge waste problem. Synthetics also depend on petroleum and have a fairly high carbon footprint. Therefore natural fibers are staging a comeback or return to favor. This has caused prices for the natural commodity to augment making production once again feasible. In addition, much research has led to new markets for sisal. Once used mainly for cording, particularly agriculture cording, sisal is now finding use in reinforcement of plastics and concrete, in paper production, and is woven into beautiful carpets that are used worldwide.
CPCS has a vision of helping farmers produce sisal in small plots, providing access to decortication equipment for extracting the fiber from plant leaves, and helping cooperative members to join the world market and get a fair price for their product. Sisal production involves a lot of hand work. Fields must be planted and maintained, leaves must be harvested by hand, fiber must be extracted from the leaves and washed and dried in the sun. The fiber must be brushed and baled for export. All of these steps create much needed jobs for Haitian workers. Jobs create income and enable families to feed, clothe and educate their children.
With the assistance of West End Baptist Church in Virginia, the founders of the cooperative have organized and positioned themselves to grow with the sisal resurgence. Artisans in Haiti who are accustomed to producing a variety of handmade, quality items are joining the cooperative to buy fiber and sell their products on the world market. Working together, the members of the cooperative hope to make great progress one small step at a time.
Inquiries about the work of the cooperative and the availability of products should be addressed to the cooperative's president, Esau Jean Pierre at: