The Dominican Republic stopped exporting meat to the U.S. decades ago after failing to comply with standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), but efforts currently underway in the country could end that lapse while creating economic opportunities for farmers in the beef and dairy industry.
During the 28th Medal of Honor Award Ceremony of the Dominican Association of Ranchers and Farmers (ADHA), Administrative Minister of the Presidency José Ramón Peralta delivered a check for DOP $15 million (around $300,000 USD) to the Central Veterinary Laboratory (Lavecen). The investment will allow Lavecen to obtain the necessary resources to comply with the required analytics for beef slaughterhouses and public health, in order to meet U.S. beef and dairy export standards.
Peralta pointed out that the Dominican Republic boasts one of the region's lowest beef production costs and is among countries offering the lowest prices in international markets—creating myriad opportunities for Dominican farmers to export meat, milk and its derivatives—but that work must continue to improve the productivity and efficiency of the industry.
During his opening speech, ADHA president Julio de Beras said that the call to strengthen Lavecen came from the Dominican Republic's meat production sector, which is eager to re-export meat products to the United States after a 20-year lapse in complying with USDA standards.
Both Minister Peralta and ADHA President de Beras highlighted the important work of NCBA CLUSA’s Safe Agriculture/Food Export (SAFE) Program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the Dominican Republic (known locally as PROGANA) towards achieving livestock value chain equivalency that will allow the Dominican Republic to export meat, dairy and other derivatives to the U.S. The SAFE Program works to improve agricultural productivity by building capacity meant to expand trade and export by adding value to post-production.
The program recently signed work agreements to establish 15 demonstration cattle farms with milk producers. The SAFE Program will establish a network of 175 demonstration centers on livestock farms during its execution, with an investment of 25 million pesos to the benefit of both meat and milk producers.
At the recent award ceremony, Osmar Benítez, President of the Dominican Agribusiness Board (JAD), received the ADHA Medal of Honor. JAD is NCBA CLUSA's local implementing partner for the SAFE Program in the Dominican Republic. The ADHA Medal of Honor is granted to producers, entrepreneurs or agroindustry actors who have excelled in different fields of the sector, including beef and dairy farming, rice farming, associativity and new technologies.