This valuable book was conceived as a contribution to the agricultural development of the Dominican Republic. The diversity and potential of this country are eloquently revealed in its content. It also serves to promote an interest in agriculture, an activity that is fundamental to the nourishment and subsistence of our people, as well as an ideal enterprise for generating wealth, productive employment and a primary source of foreign exchange revenue.
As Dominicans, we should be aware of the natural abundance with which our country is blessed. The extent of this bounty is manifest in few other countries and it requires us to be conscientious in the use of our agricultural resources. Although we occupy only a portion of this island, our land features a great diversity of microclimates, not only because it is in a tropical zone but also because we have the highest mountains in all of the Caribbean. These factors provide a wide range of temperatures and rainfall, allowing opportunities for the production of an ample variety of crops. At the same time, the Dominican Republic boasts an extensive source of fresh water and possesses vast fertile lands, of excellent quality. In addition, the country enjoys a privileged geographical location, at the very center of the Americas, equidistant from important consumer markets, some of which we already supply with numerous products, and other countries that may become potential markets.
This work offers an overview of the rich Cibao Valley, the eastern region’s expansive savannas, the torrid climate of the South and the lush valleys of Constanza and Jarabacoa, among other areas. It takes us to San Juan de la Maguana’s fertile lands, as well as to the privileged agricultural zones irrigated by the Yuna River. Throughout these pages, we view remarkable images and a selection of crops that are successfully cultivated in our plentiful soil, from the delicious mango to aromatic cacao and, finally, to the nutritional yuca.
We hope this book will serve the purpose that motivated us to produce it. The agricultural sector, it is essential to understand, is not only a source of wealth, as underscored by the RD$20 billion worth of rice yielded in 2012, but also provides a significant source of foreign exchange revenue, as evidenced by the US$300 million generated annually in banana exports alone. Above all, agriculture is the means by which our nation safeguards its nutritional sustainability, a factor that reinforces our freedom and sovereignty.
We would like to express our thanks to all the entities and persons who have made this book possible. Our special thanks go to the Ministry of Agriculture. Their publications have provided a fundamental source. Many thanks as well to the Junta Agroempresarial Dominicana (the Dominican Agribusiness Board) and its President, Osmar Benítez, who guided us with suggestions and invaluable information, and to Manuel González Tejera, for enriching this work with his insights.
Text: Carlos Despradel
Photography: Miriam Calzada, Eladio Fernández y Pedro Genaro
Illustrations: Sahira Fontana, Miguel Cepeda, Ana – Banana – Díaz y Paulo Lara