El Cercado, Dominican Republic.- The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Rural Economic Diversification Project and its program to install low cost greenhouses and agro-forestry systems with organic practices, inaugurated six low cost greenhouses and 30 agro-forestry systems to help preserve around 440 hectares of lands.
This project has contributed to spur a cultural change in the planting methods of 72 small farmers in El Cercado (southwest), who’ll no longer use the hillsides and instead will plant organic products in low cost greenhouses, leading to higher income and protect the zone’s environment.
The project’s cost of 5.8 million pesos included 3.3 million in matching funds from the communities and a USAID donation of 2.5 million conducted by the Ecological Agriculture Promotion and Hydrographic Basins Management Group (GPAE-MC).
Through the initiative the zone’s farmers were trained in organic vegetable production in greenhouses, the establishment of agro-forestry systems, application of ground conservation practices and the elaboration of natural fertilizers and insecticides.
“This is an initiative of great impact for these small farmers since they’ll now be able to access tools and production techniques that will allow them to increase their income and improve their living conditions, while respecting the environment,” said Duty Greene, Economic Policies Adviser USAID.
The activity’s primary target is to support the farmers and agribusinesses in five communities in San Juan Province, to produce organic vegetable in greenhouse, and establish agro-forestry systems that allows them to diversify their production.