The plant manager of BioTropic Duisburg, Sascha Suler, visited their cultivation projects in Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic in December 2018, in order to get an idea of the local conditions. The first call was to San Jose in Costa Rica, from where BioTropic employees Sascha Suler, agricultural engineer Volker Schmidt and Lisbeth Mora drove to the area of Coto Bus in a 5-hour car ride, where producer Rebecca Sanchez grows organic ginger.
Organic production Costa Rica
Over muddy roads, driving cars through rivers and travelling by boat as well, we went to the ginger fields. The road is difficult, but that also guarantees that hardly anybody gets there. That way, the delicate ginger can grow undisturbed, organically. The climatic conditions are ideal for ginger cultivation: at present we are at the end of the rainy season, which lasts approximately from May to December. It is a humid climate, optimal for growth. Now the dry season will arrive, and we will be harvesting and drying the tubers. In the ginger drying plant, Sascha Suler met the son of Volker Schmidt, Paul Schmidt, who takes care of processing on site. There are turmeric fields as well; this is the second most important organic product from Costa Rica.
Sascha Suler explains: "Due to the nearby volcano, the soils in the region are very fertile. Vegetation is very lush and there is an abundant wildlife. The many giant alligators that live in the rivers are particularly impressive."
Banana cultivation in the Dominican Republic
From Costa Rica, Sascha Suler and Volker Schmidt travelled on to the the city of Santiago in the Dominican Republic and from there, they went to their banana producers. "At the moment we have very good organic bananas in excellent quantities. The huge plants on the plantation of Porfirio Acosta are very healthy and well nourished. The climate is currently very hot and dry, making it ideal for growing bananas," says Suler. "Unfortunately, in times of climate change, you can no longer count on the weather. Either it is too hot and too dry or too humid."
Their own project "Villa Lobo" is worth a visit as well. Recently, a new dike was built to prevent further flooding, as well as new drainage ditches. As always, it is important for BIo Tropic GmbH to look behind the scenes to be sure that the organic farming is in order. The responsible agricultural engineers are on the move worldwide.
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