New Program Will Improve Quality and Export of High Value Fruits and Vegetables in the Dominican Republic

19-Oct-2015 Categories: Dominican Republic Press Releases

IESC will implement a new four-year program in the Dominican Republic to improve the quality and production of horticulture products for domestic and export markets.

A produce market in the Dominican Republic. IESC's new program will increase the food safety and food quality of high value fruits and vegetables.

The Dominican Republic is one of the fastest growing economies in the Caribbean, yet a third of the population still lives in poverty. Agriculture is the country’s second largest sector and has the potential to drive significant economic growth and lift people out of poverty. The Dominican Republic has some comparative advantages to other countries in the region, including lower land and labor costs and shorter transit times to key export markets.

Unfortunately, a high percentage of the country’s agricultural products are rejected due to food safety and quality concerns.

The new program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agriculture Service, will increase the quality, productivity and sales of four key agricultural products: avocado, cocoa, pineapple, greenhouse vegetables (tomatoes, sweet peppers, cucumbers), and oriental vegetables, which encompass a wide range of exotic vegetables destined for Indian, Pakistani, and Asian cuisine-loving consumers in the United States.

IESC’s new program takes a “field to fork” approach, working within the full supply and distribution ecosystem, or value chain, including producers, packinghouses, marketers, and exporters. IESC will provide training to producer groups, cooperatives, and their members to help them meet international standards for safety, quality, and labeling.

This $15 million program is part of the USDA’s Food for Progress Program, which helps developing countries and emerging democracies modernize and strengthen their agricultural sectors.

IESC’s implementing partners are Florida A&M University, the Global Cold Chain Alliance, and local partner the Center for Agriculture and Forestry Development