Economy June 23, 2024 | 11:00 am

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Rice farmers are eager for Abinader to tell them about their fate in the DR-CAFTA

Santo Domingo – The President should discuss the plan because he foresees that the producers will want to lower their investments.

Rice producers need President Luis Abinader to inform them about the tariff relief that rice will have starting next year due to the Free Trade Agreement (DR-Cafta). They need to plan their next harvest, which could require less investment if the agreement with the United States remains the same.

This was stated yesterday by Marcelo Reyes, the president of the Dominican Federation of Rice Producers (Fenarroz). He added that the President should talk about the plan for the sector because he foresees that the producers will want to lower the investment grade in order not to risk capital.

“It is time to give more finished information to the producers since the last harvest under the current system of rice production is left. The president must say what the situation is,” he said.
At the beginning of the year, Abinader assured that before 2025, there would be a solution to the rice and DR-Cafta issue and explained that he had been working on it, looking for different ways to solve it in accordance with the treaties signed by the Dominican Republic.

Reyes expressed confidence in the president and highlighted the creation of a commission to address the issue.

“As I understand it, the technicians have been working. We must know where the public policies oriented to this are going to be directed,” he said.

He said that in recent months, the liberalization of the rice market under the treaty has generated growing concern among rice producers. This concern lies in the impact that this opening could have on the competitiveness and sustainability of the national rice sector, especially for small farmers operating in smallholdings.

“National producers , mostly small farmers operating on plots of less than 100 tareas, fear that the DR-Cafta measures will favor the entry of rice at lower prices, which could displace national rice from the market,” he said.

He explained that the United States, with its high technology and generous agricultural subsidies, has the capacity to produce rice at a significantly lower cost. This disadvantages local producers, and their dependence on them will affect price stability.

The producer recalled that the possible flooding of the market with imported rice affects not only competitiveness but also the sustainability of the sector and of those communities whose main economic activity is the cultivation of that cereal.

“Small producers will not be able to compete,” he said.

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Paul Tierney
June 24, 2024 9:02 am

The small farmers will need subsidies to remain in business.