Santo Domingo. – Much of the country’s food production comes from small producers, so they will be the priority for the financing that President Luis Abinader has announced for the agricultural sector of the Dominican Republic. Small cooperatives will also be included because their members are organized, and in this way, associative production can be promoted.
The information was offered exclusively to Listín Diario by the new administrator of Banco Agrícola, Fernando Durán, in his office. Durán stressed that this money would also support production destined for exports because a fundamental policy of the new government will generate foreign exchange.
The administrator of the Agricultural Bank commented that this financing program would seek to counteract the effects of the pandemic on agricultural production. Regardless of the land tasks that producers have to access loans, the program would guarantee the contribution to quality food security and sufficiency in this situation of health and economic crisis.
“85% of the producers have less than 200 land tasks. The average is 50 tasks. We are talking about agriculture that relies on small producers,” he said. The program is not the only action with which the Government will promote the quality of food in the Dominican Republic. However, it clarified that it is a temporary plan, for within the next six months, in this emergency due to the pandemic. With the RD $ 5 billion of financing, the entity hopes to give value to rural production and take advantage of the fact that in Europe, there is a high demand for Chinese greenhouse products and vegetables that the country can supply, said Durán.
Small producers of cassava, sweet potatoes, bananas, corn, vegetables, chili peppers, aubergines, rice, and other food products will receive support from the Government with this financing. According to Durán, there will be a more excellent supply, and producers will have the opportunity to reinvest in their crops. Another of this program’s pillars, Durán pointed out, is to create jobs through Dominican microenterprises.
They will prepare a regulation
Durán reported that a meeting to be held with the Ministry of Agriculture and the agricultural sector to define the final terms of how the financing fund will operate this Wednesday. This determination is “an indication of the Dominican Government’s commitment, of the initiatives that we are going to address to the great challenges of the field and how we are going to guarantee food security. We are going to encourage each family to have access to quality food in sufficient quantity.”
The new administrator of Banco Agrícola stressed that small producers are exempt from financing interest, but they will have to pay the loan principal for the program to continue.
They will transform INESPRE
The new official emphasized that the Price Stabilization Institute (INESPRE) is going to transform. INESPRE will go from being an institution of “bottles and jobs for members of a party” to guaranteeing the producers’ harvest, the profitability of the purchases that the Government handles, and that the families get enough food at reasonable prices.
Address of the President
After being sworn in as constitutional president of the Dominican Republic, on Sunday the 16th, Luis Abinader Corona informed the country that he would have several measures, among them “having, through the Agricultural Bank, RD $5,000 million of financing at zero interest rate for the new planting. And it will provide marketing support and technical assistance to ensure food safety.”
He said that to achieve these objectives, financing will be used to meet the needs, which will imply an increase in indebtedness beyond that programmed before the pandemic.
“The magnitude of the crisis is so enormous that this new government will do whatever is necessary, when necessary, and for as long as necessary to rescue the economy and protect people and their jobs,” said the president.
This Tuesday, August 18, the Listín Diario editorial recommended accelerating the disbursements for planting agricultural products, to produce more food and sell it at more accessible prices. In terms of prices a banana cost RD $ 12 before the pandemic, now it is worth RD $ 20; potatoes sold at RD $ 18 a pound, today are at RD $ 40, among other increases.