As a result of using greenhouses, farmers are able to generate more income, increase their standard of living and create employment opportunities in their community.
Written by Angela Canterbury, VEGA Managing Director of Communications and Advocacy
American greenhouse growers have made a lasting impact---increasing yields and improving lives throughout the developing world though the 30-year-old Farmer-to-Farmer program. In the Dominican Republic, many fruit and vegetable growers are once again able to export to the US after a ban had been imposed due to the presence of the Mediterranean fruit fly or medfly, costing Dominican producers millions of dollars---an estimated $50 million in 2015 alone.
As a result of the ban, imposed in April 2015, the Jarabacoa Greenhouse Cluster requested the assistance of the US Agency for International Development-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program to train technicians, greenhouse growers and farmers on how to identify the medfly, take precautions to prevent the medfly from entering greenhouses, and treat greenhouses that may already be infected. Partners of the Americas, one of seven non-profit organizations that implement the Farmer-to-Farmer program, answered the call and sent several volunteer experts---including greenhouse growers---to work with the Cluster and its members on topics like irrigation, fertilization, pest management, inspection, marketing and distribution, quality control, seed/seeding production, and more.
Last August, the US Department of Agriculture lifted the ban on 23 of the 30 Dominican provinces, allowing all Dominican peppers and avocados, papayas and citrus fruits to enter the US market again. Unfortunately, the ban is still in place for the eastern part of the country, where the medfly is still detected.
F2F programs also have benefits for the volunteers and their communities back home. According to F2F volunteer Judson Reid who lent his expertise on greenhouse production of fruits and vegetables in the Yaque del Norte river basin in the Dominican Republic, “I have already integrated issues around trips management in the DR into my educational programming with growers in the Northeast U.S.”
The Farmer-to-Farmer program is always seeking new volunteers! Greenhouse growers interested in learning more can visit Farmer-to-Farmer.org.
Here are some links to recent blog stories about greenhouse volunteers and their work in the DR:
The John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) is funded by USAID through the U.S. Farm Bill, the F2F Program promotes sustainable economic growth, food security and agricultural development worldwide. Volunteer technical assistance from US farmers, agribusinesses, cooperatives, and universities helps developing countries improve productivity, access new markets, build local capacity, combat climate change and conserve environmental and natural resources. Since 1985, more than 16,000 volunteers have served in 111 countries and more than 11,000 local host organizations, benefiting more than 1.2 million people.
Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) supports the Farmer-to-Farmer community through Farmer-to-Farmer.org and the F2F Special Program Support Project.
Inspired by President Kennedy and founded in 1964 under the Alliance for Progress, Partners of the Americas is a 501(c) 3 non-profit, non-partisan organization with international offices in Washington, DC. We connect people and organizations across borders to serve and change lives through lasting partnerships.
Partners is one of seven non-profit organizations that implement Farmer-to-Farmer programs. Partners has worked extensively with greenhouse growers over many years in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, most notably the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guyana, and Guatemala.