Coconut as a source of entrepreneurship for women
The Samaná highway is decorated with countless palm trees, and Dominicans consider coconut water a refreshing drink and a source of entrepreneurship due to their thick shells, which measure between 20 and 30 centimeters and weigh approximately 2.6 kilograms.
Jensur de Jesús used to work as a maid and made artisanal coconut ice cream for RD$25, but she believes that this venture was the best way to provide a better life for her four children. According to the Gastronomic Observatory, the average price of coconuts varies depending on the market. The cost per unit is RD$53, while in supermarkets, it is slightly lower, at RD$52. “I used to work until Saturdays for RD$15,000 a month, and on Sundays, I made RD$750 for a half-day. Now, by selling shampoo, I make RD$350,” she explains. The entrepreneur says that she usually sells 100 units of this product every month, generating an income of RD$35,000. The report indicates that 53.4% of potential entrepreneurs intend to become financially independent within the next three years.
Coconut water is a refreshing drink in many coconut-producing regions. With its natural taste and clear liquid, this fruit has a place in the food basket of the 11.5 million Dominicans. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, due to the cultivation of 44,344 tasks in 2022, coconut farmers harvested 840,844 tasks, which resulted in a production of 10,401,380 quintals of coconuts. The ministry reports 196,581,991 quintals of agricultural products in 2022. Of this amount, 5.2% was contributed by coconut production, which is lower than rice, which contributed 14,750,000 quintals, avocado, 16,252,333 quintals, and papaya, 28,256,939 quintals. Bananas contributed 30,808,006 quintals, followed by plantains (25,382,293 quintals), watermelon (14,145,356 quintals), and pineapple (10,954,059 quintals).
Furthermore, in 2022, 44,344 tasks of coconut were cultivated, accounting for 0.7% of the total amount of crops, which amounted to 6,103,226 tasks. Entrepreneur Melci Ramos explains that she purchases coconuts from suppliers in San Cristóbal and Samaná for RD$75 per unit. “It’s expensive because we’re out of season… there are days when I buy them for RD$45 and RD$50,” she said. She saw an income opportunity in coconuts in 2020 when she was unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I didn’t know what to do, but upon recommendation, I began to prepare myself in technical courses and experiment with organic beauty product production,” she said.