(October 14, 2015)
NCBA CLUSA recently signed a $16.2 million dollar cooperative agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), under the USDA Food for Progress Act, to implement a project in the dairy and beef sectors in the Dominican Republic.
The five-year project, called the Safe Agriculture/Food Export (SAFE) program, will be implemented through 2020 and work with dairy and beef producers to improve agricultural productivity for livestock and expand exports and trade.
The SAFE program is NCBA CLUSA’s return to the Dominican Republic after projects in the 1980s over 25 years ago. The program targets 66,000 individuals benefitting from trade and improved production interventions.
Working with smallholder livestock owners with 100 heads of cattle or less, NCBA CLUSA will partner with milk and beef processing centers to train farmers on improved herd management and production techniques. For the dairy sector, pasture management, animal nutrition, herd management, and sanitary milking and milk handling practices will be emphasized. Training for beef producers will include improved pasture seed and feed, artificial insemination, herd management, nutrition, and the use of veterinary pharmaceuticals.
Trainings will be held through agriculture extension agents at farm field schools. These extension agents will set up demonstration plots and pastures to show how improved techniques can keep a herd healthy and profitable while adhering to international certifications for export quality products. The end of the program targets Dominican exports to the U.S. to exceed $3 million USD. Overall sales of beef and dairy products for client producers are targeted to exceed $800 million USD.
Junta Agroempresarial Dominicana (JAD), Cooperative Resources International (CRI), and Texas A&M Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture are partnering on the project, training agriculture extension specialists. In addition, Texas A&M University will lead exchange visits and conduct an equivalency analysis to study the U.S. and Puerto Rico Beef Regulatory system, training Dominican Republic government officials and private company representatives in trade policy analysis, and advocacy for the beef and dairy industries.