From August 2016 to November 2020, the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture served as a subcontractor for NCBA/CLUSA for the PROGRANA project in the Dominican Republic aimed to strengthening both the beef and dairy value chains. To assist the GoDR in the policy analysis, the beef marketing team from the Borlaug Institute at Texas A & M University (TAMU) assessed the opportunity to export low value beef cuts from the Dominican Republic (DR) to Puerto Rico (PR). The project supports the GoDR and the private sector to reestablish a beef export program curtailed in the mid-1990s with the loss of certification of equivalency from the USDA. To support this initiative, the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture was tasked through this partnership with NCBA/CLUSA to lead the main technical components for this project with the principal purpose was to enable beef and cheese processors to comply with sanitary regulations for export markets. Specifically, to help facilitate the country’s attainment of FSIS Equivalence status for beef exports. During the life of the project, the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture lead and implemented the following activities:
1) Carried out an initial assessment of technical and institutional issues that represented obstacles to the DR’s obtaining Equivalence status with FSIS for beef exports and presented the assessment to the Minister of Agriculture who received it well.
2) Analyzed issues in the dairy value chain including cheese plants and presented the analysis to the Dominican Government through the prime.
3) Evaluated in detail the capabilities of the national veterinary laboratory and made recommendations for a detailed training program for its improvement and in the meantime suggested use of other laboratories for beef export product analyses.
4) Implemented the laboratory training program.
5) Evaluated the capabilities of five slaughterhouses to comply with sanitary standards for export.
6) Carried out extensive training of the slaughterhouses.
7) Evaluated the capacity of the national food inspection service (DIGEMAPS) to oversee the sanitary performance of the slaughterhouses.
8) Assisted DIGEMAPS to make the application (SRT) for an FSIS audit for Equivalence.
9) Provided training to the DIGEMAPS to strengthen its capabilities.
10) Analyzed the export market for Dominican beef in Puerto Rico.
11) Provided training to beef producers for improving quality (to export standards) and competitiveness.