TOUR 2019 – First Time in the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic's Export Growth Boosted by an Increase in G.A.P. Certification

Organized by GLOBALG.A.P. Country Partner Junta Agroempresarial Dominicana (JAD) in Collaboration with GLOBALG.A.P.

“We heartily welcome the presence of agricultural experts from all over the world in the country, and we congratulate JAD on promoting national agricultural production through Good Agricultural Practices as a GLOBALG.A.P. Country Partner.”
Osmar Benítez, Minister of Agriculture, Dominican Republic.

Held for the first time in the country on 16-17 September at the headquarters of JAD, the Dominican Agribusiness Board, the 2-day TOUR event in Santo Domingo was a much-welcomed conference, attracting 85+ producers, exporters, and agricultural representatives from several Latin American countries. The event covered GLOBALG.A.P. solutions for food safety, certification, traceability, and the Farm Assurer Program as well as Fusarium TR4, and the implications of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

National Commitment to Certify 500 Exporting Producers

In his inaugural speech, the Minister of Agriculture, Osmar Benítez, announced the financing of 500 new certifications in Good Agricultural Practices for producers interested in exporting to European markets, a measure that seeks to boost on-farm certification among exporting producers.

The Dominican Republic’s exports of fresh produce have seen a boost due to an increase in G.A.P. Certification . The country is an attractive producer of certain agricultural goods, such as bananas, cocoa, and oriental vegetables. Given that Europe and the United States are its two key export markets has increased the adoption for good agricultural practices and has led to a substantial growth in responsible and sustainable production in the country. The government thus aims to actively support this growth in recognition of the visible benefits of good agricultural practices for satisfying local and international demand.

The GLOBALG.A.P. Farm Assurer Program – Expert On-Farm Certification Consulting

In his presentation of the GLOBALG.A.P. Farm Assurer Program, Juan Gabriel, GLOBALG.A.P. Key Account Manager for Central America, explained how licensed on-site experts can help producers simplify their audit preparations,access the latest knowledge and expertise, connect with potential customers, and expand their business reach.

In a following session, GLOBALG.A.P. farm assurers Francisco Guillén from agro-consulting firm Proyecta Ingenio, and Manuel Santana shared their experiences of becoming and working as a farm assurer. Francisco Guillén explained that part of the training specifically takes the practices directly to the field so that participants can experience first-hand how the certification requirements are implemented on the farm.

GLOBALG.A.P. FSMA PSR Add-On – Preparing for the Requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

The FSMA Produce Safety Rule (FSMA PSR) requires specific practices to be implemented and followed for the production, handling, and import of food products to the US market. Alejandra Pistagnesi, GLOBALG.A.P. Technical Key Account Manager for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, explained how the GLOBALG.A.P. FSMA PSR Add-on addresses control points found in FSMA PSR and aids producers under GLOBALG.A.P. Fruit & Vegetable certification in identifying FSMA requirements that must be addressed at the farm level in order to export to the US market.

GLOBALG.A.P. TR4 Biosecurity Add-On – Saving the Banana

Of the $674 m in exports of the country’s fruit and vegetables in 2017, 52% were of bananas, 97% of which went to Europe, valued at $375 m.* Reason enough to make fighting Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (TR4), which can be spread through infected planting material, infested soil, and water, a major priority for the Dominican Republic.

Two sessions were thus dedicated to this urgent topic. GLOBALG.A.P.’s Juan Gabriel and Alejandra Pistagnesipresented the GLOBALG.A.P. TR4 Biosecurity Add on as a tool that provides farmers with a risk mitigation plan to prevent the introduction (and/or further spreading) of the TR4 pathogen to, within, and from their GLOBALG.A.P. certified farms. The add-on helps raise awareness about the seriousness of the disease on a global scale by providing added guidelines and information.

In the second session on TR4, Porfirio Álvarez, Director of Sanidad Vegetal, Ministry of Agriculture, and Guido Gómez, Dominican Republic representative of OIRSA, the International Organization for Regional Plant and Animal Health, described Latin America and the Caribbean’s joint efforts to combat the fungus.

Following the possible discovery of TR4 in northern Colombia, banana-producing countries in Latin America have been on high alert, and efforts are underway to create government collaboration on the continent to have a common front for applying the measures consistently in all Latin American countries as well as exchange information.

In this respect. OIRSA has produced a contingency plan specific to TR4 for its nine member countries consisting of Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama.

Farm Visits and Follow-Up Workshops

As part of the TOUR event, a field visit was organized at the coconut, citrus and guava plantations on the farms of the Dominican Citrus Consortium in Villa Alta Gracia. GLOBALG.A.P. specialists and consortium technicians shared valuable technical information on and overview of how regulations and requirements are implemented on the farm.

The TOUR stop was then immediately followed by two capacity building workshops on FSMA PSR Add-on and a Farm Assurer training for aspiring GLOBALG.A.P. trained consultants