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Extension Agent Training in the Dominican Republic

HalmanDR

FAVACA volunteer Robert D. Halman traveled to the Dominican Republic to assist banana growers in the Yaque del Norte with climate change issues in June of this year. Mr. Halman, a prior volunteer with FAVACA, is Agriculture and Small Farms Extension Agent for the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in Collier County, Florida.

Mr. Halman's visit was part of the Partners of the Americas Farmer to Farmer (FtF) program's collaboration with the Dominican Republic's Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources and Ministry of Agriculture, along with the Nature Conservancy (NTC), Junta Agro Dominican Business (JAD), and the National Institute of Hydroelectric Resources (INDRHI).

Mr. Halman created and presented two PowerPoint presentations to four different association groups including Proyecto La Cruz Manzanillo technicians and inspectors, Asociación de Pequeños Productos La Santa Cruz, and the Banelino Asociación. Each one of the presentations was re-designed for the particular members being addressed. There were a total of eighty-eight participants, five of which were female. Mr. Halman also went to eight farms in order to observe banana operations. Last, with the assistance of Mabel Barinas of Farmer to Farmer, resources and support documents were distributed for use in group discussions with associations.

Mr. Halman presented about US Extension philosophy (with specifics relevant to the Dominican Republic), production program planning, evaluation, and impact reporting for association technicians, processing, and quality control personnel. He also visited eight farms in order to observe banana operations. Based on his interactions, Mr. Halman made three recommendations:

1) Examine a community health and wellness survey, along with an employee evaluation review.
2) Develop a plan to train employees on communication issues and interpersonal skills.
3) Provide information, training, and support to La Cruz Manzanillo project on community development (i.e. health, education, volunteerism, and leadership building).

The Farmer-to-Farmer initiative is funded by the United States Agency of International Development. The result of this project is due to the collaboration of this grant and Partners of the Americas. 

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