Thursday, December 13, 2018
Going sustainable in the Dominican Republic
From cocoa and banana to sugar cane and vegetables: exporting crops all over the world is not only a hallmark of farming in the Dominican Republic – it is also a major cornerstone of the country’s economy. To make this economic basis more sustainable, Bayer and GLOBALG.A.P. organized BayG.A.P. trainings in Constanza and La Vega.
The participants of the BayG.A.P. training session in Constanza.
The Dominican Republic is more than just palm trees and white beaches. With its population of ten million people, the country also has an important agricultural sector. Approximately 1.8 million hectares are arable land, most of it dedicated to growing tropical fruits such as avocados, mangoes, and bananas. Sugar cane, for example, is one of the most important export crops, with almost 600,000 metric tons produced every year.
Field visits are an important part of BayG.A.P. training to show participants what sustainable agriculture looks like in action.
Standing out with sustainability
The effects of a changing climate, however, are having an impact on this Caribbean island. Due to natural events such as hurricanes, farmers are increasingly suffering crop losses. On the one hand they therefore have to adapt their methods to this challenge caused by the weather and, on the other hand, they have to grow crops in a more sustainable way to be able to compete on the global market. Even local markets prefer producers who implement sustainable agricultural practices. And that is not the end of it: Dominican producers have to continuously improve their portfolio to compete with imported products from other countries.
To support them with the knowledge and know-how they need to overcome this challenge, Bayer, with the support of GLOBALG.A.P. and Tocantins, hosted two BayG.A.P. training sessions – the first ones ever in the Dominican Republic – in the regions of Constanza and La Vega. Tocantins is one of the main suppliers of potatoes, onions, and garlic to the domestic market in the Dominican Republic.
In the two sessions, about 50 people were trained by Bayer facilitators and learned about safe handling of pesticides, use of personal protective equipment, calibration of application equipment, and how to deal with empty canisters of crop protection products. They also visited the model farm of Tocantins – a Bayer partner since 2015 – to put the theoretical knowledge developed in the workshop into practice.
Learning about good agricultural practices at the BayG.A.P. training session in La Vega.
More BayG.A.P. training sessions to come
“This Food Chain Partnership initiative helps farmers to develop sustainable agricultural practice,” says Manuel Octavio Suazo Abarca, Key Account Manager at Bayer. “I’m very happy to see that the participants became aware of the need for these sustainable practices and that it’s not as complicated as they thought.” In the future, Bayer plans to offer more training sessions in other regions of the Dominican Republic.
These articles might also be interesting:
Advancing agriculture in India with BayG.A.P.
Empowering smallholder farmers in India