Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Holistic Approach to Marketing Horticultural Products

Meeting with local greenhouse technicians
Mr. Willis Brown recently completed a Farmer to Farmer assignment in the Dominican Republic. He worked with female producers, farm technicians, extension advisors, packing house storage managers and directors of greenhouse clusters and groups. Mr. Brown was based in Santo Domingo but visited with producers in Constanza, Jarabacoa and San Jose de Ocoa. Producers led him on tours of their greenhouses and packing storage facilities and showed him the quality of vegetables available in local and regional markets.

Farmer to Farmer program in the Dominican Republic works on strengthening the marketing strategies used by local producers to enhance their accessability to domestic and export markets for greenhouse vegetables.  Mr. Brown wrote in his trip report,  It is very clear that the greenhouse vegetable producers have a basic understanding about production. The implementation of understanding the basics of vegetable production has thrust them into the first stages of domestic and international marketing. There is no turning back - the only direction is forward with a holistic approach to marketing.
Discussing greenhouse operations with local produer
This holistic approach involves all stakeholders and requires an analysis of all aspects of marketing.  Mr. Brown described the producers that he met as creative, risk takers, and determined to be successful. These are the main ingredients necessary to provide jobs for the men and women in the many villages and rural communities that have high levels of unemployment.  Involving these individuals in the agricultural sector provides them with social and economic stability.

Visiting local farmers markets
Mr. Brown mentioned that all of the stakeholders with whom he met agreed that their highest priority is to produce the best quality tomato, pepper and cucumber.  Their second priority is to sell the majority of their crops in the export/international markets.  And their third priority is to receive the highest price possible per pound of product. Mr. Brown's trainings and presentations focused on addressing concerns regarding: methods of greenhouse temperature control; how to prevent loss of product due to exteme temperature fluctuations; strategies for marketing in domestic and international markets; and the advantages of greenhouse vegetable growers associations.

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