Much of the Dominican banana production is organic and most of the exports are directed toward the European Union. Thus, the new Regulation on the Production and Labelling of Organic Products (EU) 2018/848 will have an impact on the Dominican Republic's fruit exports.
According to researcher Fior Daliza Peña, who has a Master's Degree in Business and International Economic Relations from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, with Regulation (EU) 2018/848, EU authorities aim at ensuring an equal scheme among organic farmers and prevent the products that do not comply with the quality demanded by EU organic production standards from being traded as organic.
It should be noted that the changes in the Regulation will affect all Dominican organic products with exportable potential and will have a greater impact on small producers organized into associations and cooperatives; this is because it considers small producer are those who have a cultivation area of up to 5 hectares.
In the case of organic Dominican bananas, this condition has a direct impact on the industry because, due to its structure, it would exclude a large number of small producers.
According to the researcher, in the case of Dominican organic bananas, small producers have been able to export to the European Union through group certification, which makes the costs of certification, management systems, and control over implementation more accessible for producers, as they finance them together. The country's banana producers receive constant training in organic farming standards required by the European Union, as most of them have not completed secondary school and are not experts in management systems.
Under the Regulation, producers who fail to qualify as small producers would have to pay an independent consultant in order to comply with all processes.
The changes, for example, will affect 40% of the affiliates of the Association of Organic Bananas of the Northwest Line (Banelino), the largest Dominican entity of small banana producers constituted more than 25 years ago with the mission of generating economic, social, and environmental progress for small producers, workers, their families, and communities. According to estimates, they will have a considerable impact on sales volumes to the European Union, stated Engineer Marike de Peña, executive director of Banelino.