Cfiu Program To Help Central American Farmers
By Claudio Mendonca
Florida International University and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture are forging an agreement to help smaller Central American agribusiness producers increase their competitiveness and integration into the global economy.
Established in 1942 by the Pan-American Union, the institute’s goal is to promote agriculture through scientific research and development.
Named the Farmer to Farmer program, the project is designed to provide training and seminars in all aspects of farming.
"The objective is to improve Central American farmers’ management capabilities, performance and technical proficiency," said Jerry Haar, FIU professor of management and international business.
For the program, the school is working with Winrock International, a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to increase agricultural productivity and rural employment around the world. Both FIU and Winrock were granted $4.2 million from the US Agency of International Development for the project.
"In addition to financial benefits, the program has an intrinsic value of providing internship for students, getting the faculty involved and strengthening the school’s reputation in Washington, Latin America and the academic world," said Mr. Haar, a senior research fellow at FIU’s Global Entrepreneurship Center. "This project has everything to do with agribusiness."
Miguel Garcia, director of agribusiness development at the institute’s Miami office, said one of the advantages of working with FIU’s College of Business is that its professors and researchers understand the export markets farmers want to target.
"To export guavas, growing them is just part of the process," said FIU provost Mark Rosenberg. "An agribusiness producer needs to know whether bio-terrorism and food legislation will cut into profits."