Supply Chain in Miches
The “Inclusion of Micro and Small Enterprises in the Sustainable Tourism Supply Chain” project marked its fourth year of operation. Supported by the Inter-American Development Bank’s Multilateral Investment Fund (IDB/MIF), this initiative improves market access for local farmers and entrepreneurs by incorporating them into the tourism and agricultural value chain generated by Tropicalia, its partners, and other anchor companies in the region. The project also seeks to initiate, develop and promote climate-smart agricultural production in Miches.
Five Key Components
Strengthening the commercial management and administration of local producers’ organizations.
Promoting climate-smart agriculture to improve the quality, scope, and diversity of local production.
Building the presence and capacity of local micro and small enterprises that provide tourism and agricultural services.
Providing greater access to microcredit financing for local growers and entrepreneurs.
Sharing knowledge and strategies to promote inclusive business models in other tourism destinations.
The program supports the maturation of a local supply chain that can meet market demands of the tourism and agricultural industries. It also diversifies local economic activities, redefining conventional supply chain markets in the region, strengthening its economy, and securing its long-term prosperity.
As of December 2016, Fundación Tropicalia had received more than USD $256,641, representing 34.4% of IDB/MIF’s total planned investment.
MILESTONES IN 2016 INCLUDE
Fundación Tropicalia has formed strategic alliances with specialized stakeholders, including the Junta Agroempresarial Dominicana (JAD, Dominican Agribusiness Board), Banco ADOPEM and ADOPEM ONG.
Cooperative of Production and Multiple Services of Miches, or COOPROMI, was established by Presidential Decree in 2016. COOPROMI seeks to consolidate and organize the commercialization and marketing of the region’s diverse sectors of goods and services. COOPROMI has accessed new funding opportunities and agricultural projects channeled through the JAD. Additionally, COOPROMI has been strengthened through the renovation of its Board of Directors, the election of a new president, and the addition of more regional producers.
BUSINESS PLAN PROGRAM
In 2015, Fundación Tropicalia consolidated a new partnership with Banco ADOPEM, one of the Dominican Republic’s most important microfinance institutions, and ADOPEM ONG, its non-profit division that supports financial and business-plan education services for clients and the general population. The partnership has successfully developed two new programs related to micro entrepreneurs’ access to credit and education:
~ “¡Miches, sí!” (or “Miches, Yes!”) Program ~
Promotes the improvement of local small and micro businesses, supports new ventures, and strengthen Miches’ supply of tourism and agricultural products and services. The program offered 32 local entrepreneurs a 40-hour training course conducted by ADOPEM ONG to assist in developing their own business plans. Twenty-four completed the program, and 20 participants presented their ideas to an independent jury that selected the four best concepts (two existing businesses and two new enterprises). The winners, one woman and three men, were awarded seed funding to launch their businesses and will receive ongoing support from ADOPEM ONG and Fundación Tropicalia. They are now producing and selling organic coconut fertilizer, raising rabbits for consumption, providing horseback riding tours, and managing a restaurant.
~ “¡Miches Emprende!” Program ~
In October 2016, Fundación Tropicalia and Banco ADOPEM launched the “¡Miches Emprende!” revolving fund, a low-interest fund for entrepreneurs operating sustainable tourism or agricultural businesses in Miches. This year, six entrepreneurs (four women and two men) were funded by the initiative, accessing a total of DOP $620,000.
As par t of the IDB/MIF project, nine training programs have been developed between 2014 and 2016, benefiting a total of 1,625 people (55% men and 45% women). Topics include financing, land administration, use of pesticides, organic production, and best agricultural practices.
Framed under an adaptive management process, the “Inclusion of the Micro and Small Enterprises into the Sustainable Tourism Supply Chain” project was strategically overhauled and extended for 12 additional months through September 2017. For Fundación Tropicalia, this project will be absorbed as a permanent institutional program allowing us to ensure its success and evolution. The short-, mediumand long-term objectives and milestones for this new phase include:
MICROFINANCE OPPORTUNITIES FOR LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS
Fundación Tropicalia understands that socioeconomic development depends greatly on local growers’ and entrepreneurs’ access to financial services. Accordingly, in 2008 the foundation partnered with Fondo para el Desarrollo, Inc. (FONDESA), a leading microfinance nonprofit in the Dominican Republic, to diversify banking products, formalize the borrowing process, and support inclusive business programs in Miches.
Thanks to FONDESA, thousands of families have gained access to affordable credit facilities that have supported commerce, agriculture, services, consumers, home remodeling, and livestock farming. In 2014, FONDESA and Fundación Tropicalia launched a new microfinance product especially designed for the foundation’s inclusive supply-chain beneficiaries, offering competitive interest rates and flexible amortization schedules that adapt to the uncertainties of agricultural production. To date, the partnership has established a total of 90 such credit lines valued at more than DOP 8.1 million, benefiting 90 local families. Funds have been mainly used for passionfruit, ginger, and watermelon production.