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Dominican Republic: Plantain contribution vital to the GDP
The Dominican Republic's plantain sector contributes more than RD $14.000 million per year to the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and it is one of the products that promotes the economy's development the most, stated the chief executive of the Dominican Agribusiness Board, Osmar Benitez.
Benitez said that the Dominicans consumed 200 million plantains each month, which amounts to 2.400 million plantains per year. Producing this requires 44,016 hectares. He also stated that the country exported plantains worth US $5,000,000 to the international market.
Benitez hosted a Field Day in a non-traditional plantain trial farm, located in Canela, which was attended by producers from different parts of the country and leaders of organizations linked to agriculture, where he highlighted the importance of production based on good market planning.
The country exports around RD $ 200 million of plantain to the United States, Haiti, San Martin, and the Turks and Caicos Islands, although this farm's production is destined for the country's Frito Lay's processing plant.
"The country has more than 44,016 hectares of plantains and they are mainly concentrated in the provinces of Espaillat, La Vega, Hermanas Mirabal, Sanchez Ramirez, Santiago, Valverde, Barahona, and Montecristi. This crop was introduced to the island of Hispaniola more than 470 years ago," said the businessman.
The executive president of the Dominican Agribusiness Board and his family hosted the Field Day at their trial farm, located in Canela, Santiago. This farm has more than 50.3 hectares and is devoted to cultivating the FHIA variety, which stands for Honduran Foundation for Agricultural Research.
According to Osmar Benitez, the plantain grown on this farm is a hybrid of the fruit with a performance that is far superior to the performance of the creole varieties, which produce 25 to 40 plantains per cluster, while the FHIA variety can produce up to 150 plantains per cluster.
The business leader said the development of his agricultural business depended heavily on Frito Lay's processing plant with whom they've had a contract to supply all the raw materials that the industry requires for its products for years.
Benitez urged producers seek fixed contracts with companies from the start of their investments, as that will guarantee their stability.
40 women work on this farm peeling the plantain that is delivered to Frito Lay. The Field Day was held at the farm last Friday, and it was attended by major investors in different agricultural sectors and small farmers from almost all over the country.
Publication date: 3/14/2017
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