The Ministry of Agriculture of the Dominican Republic and the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together through the Safe Agriculture/Food Export (SAFE) project, known locally as ProGana.
The project works with Dominican livestock producers belonging to 13 dairy and meat value chains across nine provinces of the country. ProGana is a project of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food for Progress program, implemented by a consortium of local and international partners led by NCBA CLUSA.
The document was signed on June 22 by Limber Cruz, the country’s Minister of Agriculture; Robert W. Thomas, chargé d’affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo; and Cesáreo R. Guillermo, chief of party for ProGana. With the signing, both institutions commit to providing support and collaboration in accordance with the MOU.
The main activities will support the development of national cattle ranching, based on the practices identified in the first phase of implementation, which seeks to provide sustainability to the increase of beef cattle with vocation for export through reproduction and genetic services; the definition and implementation of a new paradigm for the strengthening of a public and private extension system that ensures effective technical support on farms, both at the dairy and meat levels; the implementation of cost-effective techniques and technologies; economic diversification; financial services; the increase of organizational capacities; food safety; environmental sustainability and the promotion of a much-needed entrepreneurial culture in the subsector, especially among small and medium-sized producers.
The Ministry of Agriculture and NCBA CLUSA will share resources, technical support, data and knowledge to achieve and hopefully exceed the goals and results committed. The project works to bring together the organized community of livestock producers in the country, with particular investments in public-private partnerships.
The agreement also seeks the completion, publication and distribution of standardized technical and educational materials for training, with the participation of the main entities of the livestock sector, in the topics of hygienic and sanitary milking practices, livestock practices, livestock field schools, basic sanitation and others.
As for meat farming, the MoU includes the design and possible implementation of a special mechanism for the promotion of beef; the formulation and approval of a “Ten-Year Strategy for the Strengthening of Bovine Value Chains”, and to achieve a “certification system for organic bovine products and/or grass-fed”. It also favors the implementatioQn of a farm certification program that includes “Best Livestock Practices”, and the corresponding standards of “Animal Health and Traceability”, with an initial focus on farms that produce beef for export.
The project will also work on improving the income generation of farmers. Both entities will work in unison to strengthen the business and administrative capacities of producer groups. To this end, they will implement technical assistance in good governance, management, business services, extension systems, artificial insemination routes, articulation of young people and women to cattle chains and other income-generating activities. Both parties will seek to leverage and expand financial services to actors in bovine value chains by facilitating access to agricultural loans, but with the corresponding accompaniment.
Finally, the agreement highlights the adoption of the methodology of Livestock Field Schools (ECA-G), to establish farms and / or demonstration modules through the geographical area of intervention of the project, which demonstrate the economic benefits of the use of the practices and technologies promoted by the same. These schools seek at the same time to facilitate links between input suppliers and producer groups. This methodology promoted by ProGana, has been adapted to the reality of the cattle subsector, in accordance with those promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
The Safe Agriculture/Food Export (SAFE) Project, known locally as ProGana, is a seven-year project funded by the Food for Progress Program (FFPr) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is being implemented by the National Cooperative Business Associaton CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) and a consortium of six local and international entities.
This project seeks to strengthen Dominican beef and dairy cattle ranching. It employs technical training, financial services, and organizational strengthening to increase production, quality, sanitary standards enforcement, and marketing of products from both industries.