CAHS Scientist Ram Ray Serves USAID Farmer to Farmer Program in the Dominican Republic
July 22 – Cooperative Agricultural Research Center (CARC) Research Scientist Ram Ray recently visited the Dominican Republic to participate in the USAID Farmer to Farmer (F2F) Program. This global platform transfers technical knowledge and expertise of U.S. experts, agricultural producers and businesses on a voluntary basis to middle-income countries around the world. The major goal of F2F program is to promote sustainable improvements in climate change, food security and education, and offer an excellent opportunity to advance the joint scientific research and development programs between U.S. institutions and middle-income countries’ institutions.
Ray visited Dominican Republic to share his human induced and natural disasters expertise with farmers, agricultural extension specialists and other researchers of the Santiago, Mao and La Vega communities in the Dominican Republic. He served as Climate Smart Agriculture Specialist in this Rural Adaptation and Resilience Project led by Partners of the Americas. The major objectives of his visit was to increase the resilience of vulnerable populations to the impacts of changing climate and weather patterns through a crosscutting approach. This project focused primarily on the agricultural livelihoods in the Yaque del Norte and Yana Camu watersheds with hopes to increase awareness, build capacity, and promote mitigation and adaptation strategies.
During his 15-day assignment, Ray trained and assisted 346 farmers, ranchers, extension specialists and other stakeholders. He helped them to understand and use the best agricultural practices on steep slopes to mitigate soil erosion and prevent landslides and floods. The Dominican Republic is ranked the 11th most vulnerable country in the world to climate change. Floods are the most frequent climate-related hazard in this country. The northeastern region is susceptible to floods and landslides, whereas the northwest is experiencing increasing temperatures leading to more drought, which reduces crop yields and water supplies.
He recommended contour or terrace tillage, mixed cropping, cover cropping, mulching and crop rotation on the slopes to minimize soil erosion and improve soil health. He also recommended the farmers to grow row crops and plant them across the slope.
The work of Prairie View A&M University scientists continues to cross boundaries and encourage new ideas in areas across the world. Dr. Ray’s work in the Dominican Republic will be carried on to future generations of that region in hopes of further progressing the realm of agriculture.
This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, 1890 Extension Formula Program projects under Section 1444.
Ram L. Ray, Ph.D., P.E.