Banana growers scream as Haitian workers seek greener pastures
Mao, Dominican Republic.- The lack of day laborers poses a threat to banana harvests and exports to Europe, since most workers, of Haitian origin, when they get documents leave the farms and emigrate to tourist areas such as the East, the North and major cities, such as Greater Santo Domingo and Santiago, according to agro producers, military and govt. officials.
Monte Asamsi Northwest Agricultural Association director Rafael Sosa warned that the Dominican Republic is on the verge of losing Europe’s export market due to the lack of workers.
The agro leader said the 15,787 Haitians working in the Northwest’s banana plantations, all have headed to tourism regions such as Bávaro, the East, North Coast and others.
The head of the entity which groups banana producers said the foreigners have to have legal papers and access to public services, otherwise the product doesn’t enter the European market.
“But ever since we gave them the regularization card, they leave our farms,” Sosa told Listin Diario.
He noted that, like him, many banana workers complain that, of the eight cleaners who normally work in disinfecting the fruit, only two were operating.
“With so much effort we regularized them, but they leave our farms,” Sosa said, adding that other Haitians who have entered the country irregularly have been returned to their country, and now have no laborers to weed, cut, harvest and re-plant.
Sosa’s statement comes amid reports of considerable immigration of Haitians to Chile and Brazil.