Thursday, July 26, 2012

Volunteer Evaluator Calls Dominican Greenhouse Project a Success

As farmers and development practitioners well know, changes in weather, price fluctuations, and pests can combine to make the realities of agricultural projects different from what was originally envisioned. Therefore, Farmer to Farmer has recognized the importance of conducting thorough and impartial evaluations of its projects to ensure that they deliver what was promised. To better understand the outcomes of their activities, la Associacion para el Desarollo de San Jose de Ocoa (ADESJO) and Farmer to Farmer Dominican Republic requested a volunteer to evaluate a greenhouse project in the province of San Jose de Ocoa. Cesar Asuaje of the University of Florida traveled to the Dominican Republic in May 2012 to conduct this evaluation.

Asuaje interviews a Greenhouse Association member
ADESJO introduced the greenhouse project to San Jose de Ocoa by building two demonstration greenhouses in 2002. Currently, there are 38 greenhouses in the area operated by 17 women’s associations. The rationale for the project design was that women could supplement the income earned on small family plots farmed by the men in the household.

Professor Asuaje’s evaluation determined that “in general, the greenhouse project is providing an additional income to all groups identified in the survey study”.  Perhaps even more importantly, the project has built capacity in the community both financially and in terms of knowledge and leadership. For example, 89% of the farmers surveyed for the evaluation were able to answer all questions about greenhouse management correctly and 93% responded that their leadership skills had significantly improved.

Interviewing a Farmer

A second but equally important reason for conducting evaluations is to gain insights into how a project can be improved. Based on his survey, Professor Asuaje was able to provide several recommendations, particularly regarding how the project could be more effective in reaching the poorest farmers.  For mountainous communities with very little land, greenhouses hold a lot of promise for increasing income without stressing limited natural resources.  

1 comment:

  1. What kind of vegetables is this people growing in the greenhouses, looks like an interesting project, in general woman are better on management..great job

    Gerson M