Saturday, April 1, 2023

Producers and authorities will prioritize citrus exports

Given the losses and deficits that cocoa and coffee growers have had in recent years, many are opting to grow other products with more profitable prospects such as citrus, experts and authorities in this sector say.

This is one of the reasons why citrus production has increased in the country. Last year only exports were close to US$18 million, so the goal of this sector is to increase that amount in 2023.

The president of the Dominican Agroindustrial Board (JAD), Osmar Benítez, informed this Friday that they will increase the production of citrus fruits so that they can be traded abroad. In effect, they will decrease imports to give more priority to Dominican farmers.

“All efforts will be made strategically and with financial support to compete with international markets, increase the quality of our citrus fruits and that the population can access them at low prices,” said Benítez.

After assuring that the country still does not have a specific figure on the number of tasks where citrus is grown, the president of the Dominican Republic Lemon Cluster, Rafael Sosa, estimates that there are between 200,000 to 220,000 nationwide.

He also specified that the Persian lime is the most produced by local farmers, reaching 80%, followed by the yellow lemon, known as “Eureca”, with the remaining 20%. The first has a greater export purpose, specifically for the United States. Meanwhile, the second is for the European market.

“Imports are a headache, because they are detrimental to local farmers, but also because there has been non-compliance in some parts in countries that have tested positive for dangerous diseases for citrus fruits,” said Sosa, who indicated that if the drought does not affect them, citrus exports will increase between 25% and 30% this year.

The deputy administrator of Banco Agrícola, Juan Rosario, explained that around RD$400 million will be allocated to loans so that this sector can diversify, acquire the technological equipment that it deserves and technical training. However, in a general sense, he pointed out that they have provided RD$74.600 million to agriculture from 2020 to 2022.

“Azua and San Juan are two provinces that have now had a boom in citrus production, which join other new non-traditional areas and that we have financed hundreds of projects that exceed RD$200 million,” Rosario explained.

Nationwide, around 3.5 tons of citrus are produced per hectare. Meanwhile, the cost of production per sale is around US$1.00 per kilo. In addition, this sector employs a labor force close to 86,200 workers.


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