The Dominican Rice Union (UAD) clarified this Thursday that does not intend to detract from or fail to recognize the importance that the DR-CAFTA Free Trade Agreement represents for the economic and commercial development of the signatory Central American countries.
The executive vice president and spokesperson for the UAD, Heraldo Suero, emphasized that the national rice sector is only advocating for a solution to the threat posed to local production by massive tariff-free imports from the United States starting in January 2025, according to is established in this agreement, signed by the country.
The business leader affirmed that “definitive shielding” of national rice production is necessary, and that this can be achieved through a political understanding at the highest level, outside the treaty, to preserve its production, as well as peace social and economic status of the Dominican fields and the food sovereignty of the nation.
In this sense, Suero said that the UAD trusts in the good will, the strategic and geopolitical vision of the United States as the main commercial partner of the Dominican Republic, so that it understands the country’s interest in safeguarding the main item of the basic family basket.
He added that the country can count on the national rice sector to continue producing grain at stable and affordable prices, as it has been doing for the last 15 years.
He thanked President Luis Abinader for his “decided and forceful” support for this productive line, publicly reiterated in recent days, “less than 15 days after his favorable speech in the rendering of accounts in the National Assembly.”
Finally, he recognized that it is more than evident that the president is concerned and committed to the future, especially in these times of uncertainty and great financial challenges both nationally and internationally.
Rice cultivation and production
More than 30,000 producers from 21 provinces and 35 municipalities are dedicated to growing rice, this item being the main engine of their local economy. Its sowing and grain processing generate more than 80,000 jobs and close to 320,000 direct jobs.
In the Dominican Republic there are some 300 agro-industries or cereal factories and a very long chain of other small, medium and large companies that market the product.
The constant effort, technological innovation and investment by producers and the State have made the country self-sufficient and even an exporter of surplus rice. This, in addition to guaranteeing food safety, helps save foreign currency.
The volume of white rice production is close to 14 million quintals per year.
The monetary contribution of the rice sector exceeds RD$32,000 million per year. The country saves about $550 million a year in imports that it would have to do if the rice economy crashed.