Responding to demands from the Dominican Republic's producer organizations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Safe Agriculture Food Export (SAFE) project provided specialized training to 38 young technicians in farm administration and livestock management.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and implemented by NCBA CLUSA, SAFE aims to train technical personnel and provide private technical assistance services to producers. As this activity has been very successful, both the authorities and representatives of the other federations of cattle ranchers in the country are interested in other groups of young people being trained. These organizations and the farmers in particular are interested in hiring newly-trained technicians to work on their farms.
Carlos A. Rivas, who directs the SAFE project for NCBA CLUSA, led the course with José López, director of the San Ignacio de Loyola Technological Institute (ITESIL). Rivas emphasized the need to have young professionals in service of the country's livestock sector. Bringing innovation to the region’s cattle industry was a priority for the presidents of the Federation of Northwest Cattlemen and the Dajabón Cattlemen's Association.
After 160 hours of theoretical lessons and practice at ITESIL’s farm and producers’ farms, participants received their certificates and will begin their final year of ITESIL academic training. A complementary training event has been planned that will focus on administration, accounting, statistics and the registration of different events that normally occur on farms.
The Federation of Northwest Cattlemen is offering internships to train some of the participants who are interested in gaining more practical experience on farms. This new initiative perfectly complements the effort of ITESIL and the SAFE project. At the conclusion of this first major challenge, new certified technicians are able to provide their services to producer associations as employees or as independent service providers.
Livestock production is the most important commercial activity in the provinces of Dajabón, Santiago Rodríguez, Monte Cristi and Mao. In these provinces, 35 percent of the country's milk is produced. The Federation of Northwest Cattlemen has 52 associations of affiliated farmers who demand services and knowledge from agricultural professionals.
ITESIL Director López encouraged the students to spend the entire month of the course to learn more and thus provide better professional services to producers.
NCBA CLUSA and SAFE project staff signed a co-financing agreement with ITESIL, which covered part of the cost of this training, as well as equipping the Food Lab, which is ready to provide dairy analysis services to producers in the Northwest Region of the Dominican Republic. Currently, with SAFE’s support, a plan is being designed so that all the producers that deliver milk to the regional collection centers receive the necessary analyses to determine the current quality of the milk.
Based on the results of the analyses, technical assistance and training plans can be implemented to raise the quality of milk produced by farmers and delivered to the large processing plants (Nestlé, Parmalat, etc.) through the collection centers. The results of the analyses showing better milk quality can influence profitability and benefits for the producers.
The SAFE project also supports ITESIL in the preparation of its farm to serve as a farm school, both for its students and to train the region's producers. This support included the construction of a calving pen as well the establishment of improved pastures and live fences.
Training up the next generation of farmers in the Dominican Republic is part of the technical advancement of the livestock industry. Learn more about NCBA CLUSA's SAFE program.