The traces that Japan and Spain left in the field of Constanza
Constanza, DR.- Constanza’s position as the leading producer of fruits and vegetables in the Dominican Republic can be attributed, to a large extent, to the influence of Japanese and Spanish colonies established in the municipality between 1955 and 1959.
The Japanese immigrants introduced new techniques and crops, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, celery, and carrot, which significantly benefited agricultural production in the country. Currently, over 80% of the vegetables consumed in the Dominican Republic are sourced from Constanza.
According to Rafa Collado, an agricultural sector entrepreneur, this success is a result of the contributions made by the Japanese and Spanish settlers in terms of cultivation techniques. Prior to their arrival, Constanza mainly focused on growing crops like corn, cassava, beans, and sweet potatoes.
Teruki Waki, president of the Constanza Association of Japanese, highlights the exemplary conduct exhibited by the Japanese community during their more than 60 years of residence in the country. Their hardworking, supportive, and creative spirit is also recognized.
Waki, 68, belongs to one of the two Japanese families that remain in Constanza out of the original 30 that arrived in October 1956, invited by Rafael Leónidas Trujillo to promote agricultural development.
Waki recalls the challenges they faced after the fall of the regime, including attacks from vandals attempting to seize the lands allocated for their agricultural activities. Some of his compatriots chose to emigrate to countries like Argentina, Brazil, or return to Japan.
However, Waki appreciates his parents’ decision to remain in the Dominican Republic and expresses that he wouldn’t trade the peace of mind Constanza offers for any other country, even Japan.
Initially, Waki’s family focused on flower cultivation, and after several years, they ventured into growing asparagus. He comments that he has been dedicated to flower cultivation since childhood, as it was the trade he learned.