The Don’t Pack a Pest (DPAP) program experienced great success and progress in 2018. The Florida DPAP program was able to successfully launch partnerships with two Caribbean countries, Suriname and Trinidad.
Program coordinators were also able to establish partnerships with other Caribbean countries, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, St. Kitts, and Grenada.
The Division of Plant Industry works closely with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop relationships with diplomatic countries’ departments of agriculture.
A considerable amount of work goes into planning and launching the Don’t Pack a Pest program in these countries, which can take months, some up to years, to organize. When a Caribbean country expresses interest in partnering with the Don’t Pack a Pest program, the first step is connecting with a USDA Greater Caribbean Safeguarding Initiative representative. The next step is to obtain the support of key government officials and ministers who will be essential to the success of the program.
Once a DPAP team is formed, major ports of entry are identified and an initial meeting is scheduled with the key players. After the meeting is held and a letter of commitment from the country is received, port facilities are toured to identify locations for program signage installation.
The DPAP team then contracts a company to fabricate and install the signs. After signage is installed, a formal launch is planned. Launches involve press briefings, held at major ports of entry, press releases and invitations to stakeholders are distributed. These events garner significant media coverage and publicity for the country.
The Florida Don’t Pack a Pest team is excited about the success to come in 2019 as we prepare to establish partnerships and launch the program in even more Caribbean countries!