The mission of AgroFrontera is to improve the environmental soundness, economic profitability and social equity of food, farming and fishing systems. Our work is focused in the northern border region of the Dominican Republic. Based in Las Matas de Santa Cruz, Dominican Republic, AgroFrontera works with a broad range of food system stakeholders to design and put into practice food supply chains that enhance soil and water quality, conserve biodiversity and improve the quality of life for families in the region.
We at AgroFrontera believe the best way to protect and enhance natural systems and improve the lives of families in farm communities by creating food supply chains that:
- value the contributions of all food system stakeholders through just compensation and safe working conditions; and
- reward and celebrate local stakeholders who are committed to long-term biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of coastal and marine ecologies.
AgroFrontera strengthens local community organizations and works with farmer and fisher groups to adopt and disseminate environmentally sound farming and responsible fishing systems practices. Our programs emphasize the role of increasing the participation of fishers and farmers in local, national and international markets as drivers for natural resource conservation and sustainable development. AgroFrontera collaborates with local communities, businesses, government agencies, universities and nonprofit organizations to promote robust transformations in food systems that improve livelihoods and enhance the productivity and biodiversity of coastal and marine ecosystems.
Our Programs and Services:
We offer a wide range of services to rural communities engaged in food production, including:
+ Institutional Capacity Building
A key to successful cooperative or collective enterprises is training fisher and farmer members, boards, and management personnel in the basics of the purpose and utility of cooperatives in the market place. AgroFrontera conducts education and outreach programs aimed at transferring concepts of cooperative rules and regulations, structure, function and management. In addition to offering training in administrative and financial management, AgroFrontera works with community organizations to improve their social capital, so that the leaders and members of these groups can effectively, efficiently and inclusively manage the cooperative enterprises
+ Legal Incorporation of Local Groups
AgroFrontera conducts institutional capacity building activities that target community leaders and enterprise managers, government agency personnel and local and regional representatives of nonprofit organizations serving rural communities. The program improves the performance and effectiveness of leaders and members of organizations, while assisting the managers of these collective enterprises to operate profitable and environmentally sound food supply chains. Our capacity building programs assist organizational leaders to develop organizational and structural frameworks that stabilize and increase membership, promote effective communication and problem-solving skills, and provide a forum to set goals, objectives and work plans that are participatory and inclusive. The development and capacity building program enhances effective participatory leadership and business management skills for leaders of community organizations. Training activities focus on individual responsibility, leadership, and ownership in stewarding successful collective action in sustainable food supply chains.
A strong leadership and human resource development program creates a systems perspective for team building within local organizations. AgroFrontera personnel assist in the development of cooperative management and operating procedures that clearly define roles, responsibilities and feedback loops. Important social and institutional capacity building skills such as strategic planning and conflict resolution are integrated into AgroFrontera cooperative development programs.
Finally, AgroFrontera recognizes that local, community groups who are legally incorporated can leverage and rally resources and exert influence on sustainable development within and beyond their local communities. AgroFrontera offers a one-stop shop to community organizations to become gain their legal status. We assist groups in developing by-laws and navigating the complex and time-consuming process of preparing and registering their incorporation documents.
+ Collective business management and marketing systems development
AgroFrontera works with agricultural and fisher groups to develop sound business plans and enterprise management strategies. Organization leaders receive detailed and practical instruction on how to write effective business plans based on the unique needs and opportunities of each collective enterprise. AgroFrontera employs a value-based product marketing and development methodology to propose and map potential new food supply chains for fisher and farmer organizations.
AgroFrontera personnel instruct group leaders and enterprise managers on key components of collective enterprise management, including issues of membership, leadership, and incorporation. AgroFrontera assists in developing organizational agreements that include initial vision and mission statements. Our personnel facilitate organizational meetings and assist in the drafting of articles of incorporation as well as filing for formal incorporation.
AgroFrontera also works with farmer and fisher organizations to develop business plans. The business plans include formulating projected volume of business and creating business management organizational charts, estimating needs of facilities, creating operating procedures, and projecting needs for capitalization of the collective enterprises. AgroFrontera documents the rich, collective experience of local stakeholders and assists these groups to cultivate and hone their business skills. The business management program includes the analysis and review of the costs of operating and maintaining potential enterprises, and predicting start-up expenses, including initial capital requirements.
Another important function of AgroFrontera in the development of the business plan is to provide organizations with a clear roadmap to financial self-sufficiency in the management and operation of the collective enterprise. Access to credit for smallholder farmers, artisanal fishers and their collective businesses is often a major obstacle to the implementation of locally-driven food supply chains. As part of the business plan, AgroFrontera assesses credit needs of local businesses and discovers the social, economic, cultural, and political barriers and opportunities that frame community business development. AgroFrontera makes specific finance recommendations and action plans for cooperatives to support the new food supply chains.
AgroFrontera works with stakeholder groups to identify problems, needs and benefits at each transaction point along the food supply chain. Costs and prices for different markets are estimated based on pricing segments analysis, pricing leverage analysis, pricing strategy and marketing strategy. This, in turn, determines the product development and investment costs that can be justified.