Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Haiti commerce ministry dismayed by fire at essential oil factory

Haitian authorities are investigating a fire at a factory that produces essential oil for some of Europe’s top fragrance houses.

The fire occurred Tuesday morning and created “significant” damage to part of Agri-Supply Company, S.A. in the city of Les Cayes in southwest Haiti.

The company is one of the largest employers in the region. Its operations indirectly supports about 25,000 farming families, who grow the drought-resistant root vetiver, which is used in perfumes and after-shave lotions.

Farmers sell the root, found in plentiful supply in the region, to Agri-Supply. The company’s 125 workers then extract its essential oil and package it for shipment to Europe.

“This fire is a disaster that strikes at the very heart of the region's economy,” Haiti’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a press release Wednesday. It said it was “dismayed” by what had happened. There were no injuries or deaths.

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