Washington, D.C.– Dr. Rafael A. Ledesma Shoowe, the Country Coordinator for the Farmer to Farmer (FTF) program in the Dominican Republic, received the prestigious Texas A&M University Outstanding International Alumnus Award from his alma mater yesterday. A number of school officials, including the President and Vice Chancellor, were on hand to honor him.
FTF is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and is implemented in the Dominican Republic by Partners of the Americas, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. It provides technical assistance to local agricultural producers, producer organizations, and agribusinesses throughout the region. Through the program, U.S. agricultural volunteers share their knowledge on an individual basis to help increase farm production and farmer incomes while preserving the natural resource base.
As Country Coordinator in the Dominican Republic, Ledesma has overseen the work of over 80 volunteer specialists from the United States who provide training to improve market competitiveness for more than 5,000 entrepreneurs and small, medium, and large producers of fruits and vegetables produced in greenhouses.
In addition to his success with FTF, Ledesma has worked in Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, and elsewhere on multi-million dollar projects to improve agriculture and livestock productivity, expanding markets and improving quality of life for the people of these countries.
"I'm still surprised at receiving such an award, and proud of representing my Dominican Aggie brothers,” Ledesma said, "and I appreciate the generous support of many staff, specialists, and researchers at Texas A&M University that have helped me throughout my career."
Created in 1994, The Outstanding International Alumnus Award is jointly sponsored by Texas A&M University, The Association of Former Students and the College of the recipient. It honors Texas A&M graduates who were not U.S. citizens while attending the University, but who went on to achieve prominence in education, the sciences, technology, agriculture, the arts, business, humanities or government.