Tourism April 15, 2024 | 8:05 am

FAO’s agricultural support for tourism growth in Pedernales

Pedernales, DR.- The Dominican Republic, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), is spearheading efforts to bolster production capacities and introduce cutting-edge technologies through the Enriquillo Norte Agroindustrial Center program in Pedernales. The overarching goal is to alleviate poverty in an area brimming with agricultural potential.

Máximo Torero, the FAO’s chief economist currently visiting the Dominican Republic, elucidated that, given the burgeoning tourist developments in Pedernales, the objective is to equip local producers to meet a significant portion of the food demand expected from upcoming hotel complexes. This strategic endeavor aligns with FAO’s Hand in Hand initiative, operational in 68 nations, which aims to uplift agriculture as a means to combat poverty.

Torero emphasized the region’s poverty, substantial immigrant population, and vast agricultural prospects, coupled with accessible water reserves conducive to irrigation. The proposal entails crafting an investment blueprint to empower producers to cater to the anticipated food demand from the burgeoning tourist corridor.

“We have assured demand, a skilled workforce, and our focus is on bolstering technology, irrigation, and processing capabilities,” stated Torero. Addressing potential hurdles in the value chain, human capital, and mechanization is paramount to meeting the stringent standards mandated by upscale resorts.

While initial funds have been provided by the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean-CAF, securing support from other entities is imperative for the project’s fruition. The aim is to galvanize public, private, and international investments to realize the project’s objectives.

With a budget of $26 million, the initiative will encompass 32,200 hectares, prioritizing legumes, tubers, vegetables, and fruits—key commodities anticipated by forthcoming hotel developments integral to Pedernales’ tourism expansion.

The project is poised to benefit 7,600 producers, with an estimated 38,000 direct beneficiaries and 64,000 indirect beneficiaries expected to ascend out of poverty. Torero underscored the initiative’s contribution to the Dominican Republic’s successful efforts in reducing extreme poverty thus far.

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