Mechanisms to be developed to reach poorest target groups in Dominican Republic
Jun 1, 2021
Rome, 01 June 2021 – Adequate mechanisms and competencies need to be developed to ensure the inclusion of the poorest in projects based on the value chain approach. The experience of the Rural Economic Development Project in the Central and Eastern Provinces (PRORURAL Centre and East) in the Dominican Republic shows that to ensure social inclusion in value chains it is necessary to scale geographic targeting, plan adequate implementation timeframes, consider domestic and local markets, tailor capacity building to beneficiary needs, and link projects to national systems and programmes that combat poverty and inequality. This, according to the latest report of the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD (IOE), released earlier today.
Approved in April 2010, the PRORURAL Centre and East project was implemented over the period 2013-2018, and yielded mostly mixed results. The project pursued a public-private partnership approach to promote and support the Dominican agribusiness sector. This innovative approach, implemented for the benefit of all value chain actors, succeeded in transferring public resources to a private institution to invest in rural development.
The project also contributed to creating a space for promoting rural development, and supported the financing of business plans for 78 smallholder producer organizations. This effort, aimed at positioning the organizations in domestic or international markets, did not however promote sufficient dialogue on policies or foster synergies with other ongoing programs in the country. Likewise, while the project contributed to a better knowledge of climate risks by producers and financed several early warning systems, the application of adaptation measures at the farm level will require more time and support.
With regard to the improvement of agricultural productivity and food security of the producers who participated in the project, the evaluation did not uncover conclusive data. The scenarios for the project's flow of benefits to continue after its closure are thus uncertain. Windows of opportunity exist, as the new Government Plan includes attention to rural populations and agricultural development.
Drawing on the above, the IOE report recommends that future projects carry out territorial diagnoses and make the approach and tools related to business plans more flexible, and explore expanding partnerships to implement and support rural organizations. Some of the lessons learned from this experience were incorporated into the design of the new Inclusive and Youth PRORURAL.
Since 2008, the Dominican Republic has been the Latin American economy that has grown the most, at an annual average of 5.06%. There has been a significant reduction in poverty in the country, between 2009-2019, both at the urban level (from 37.6% to 17.2%) and in the rural area (from 50.6% to 26.2%). National and rural extreme poverty rates have dropped accordingly. Improvements are also reported in the human development index. In 2019, the country was among those with high human development. The country has been hardly hit by the COVID19 pandemic, and the Government and its partners have been working with partners, including IFAD, to promote initiatives to improve the synergies of social and productive programs in the current COVID-19 scenario.