As part of a joint public-private effort, the Dominican Republic continues to prepare itself for meat exportation to the United Sates and other countries in the region through a Presidential Special Commission to Achieve Meat Export to the U.S. territory Puerto Rico as early as 2018.
This initiative is supported by NCBA CLUSA’s USDA-funded Safe Agriculture/Food Export (SAFE) project, which works with local actors to strengthen the livestock value chain in the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic stopped exporting meat to the U.S. in 1982, after failing to comply with standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The SAFE project has played a key role in advancing towards re-upping meat exports by providing technical assistance, training, timely advice and, notably, facilitating systematic support through the Equivalence Work Table and the SAFE Project’s Technical Advisory Council (CTC). The project works both in the field and at the organizational level through its principle implementing partner, the Dominican Agribusiness Board (JAD), under guidance from Texas A&M University and Cooperative Resources International (CRI).
To follow the process closely, the Presidential Special Commission to Achieve Meat Export holds a monthly meeting between both state and private sector representatives that ensure the necessary steps are taken to achieve the goal of meeting export standards again as soon as possible.
During their September meeting, Administrative Presidential Minister José Ramón Peralta informed the committee that international inspectors would arrive to initiate the process of verification and inspection of the spaces equipped for meat exporting to the U.S. Peralta also reiterated that Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina would continue to support any necessary measures towards exporting meat by 2018.
Members of the commission emphasized that when it comes to beef, Dominican Republic costs and prices are competitive enough to compete in any market, and that both private and public entities are working to make this a reality, which will in turn support the development of sustainable livestock farming in the Dominican Republic. This would bolster both the Dominican economy and brings beef prices down for Puerto Rican consumers, who import much of their food.
One of the major advances towards the goal has been the hiring of Public Health Inspectors, who will participate in the verifications of sanitation and slaughter processes of animals for food. In addition, quality control laboratory equipment has been purchased and laboratory personnel have been trained.