SANTO DOMINGO.- The Dominican Agribusiness Board asked President Luis Abinader, as well as the presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Estrella and Alfredo Pacheco, respectively, to reconsider the bill that would allow duty-free entry to a key list of finished products of the basic Dominican basket.
He considers that this recently introduced legislative initiative would not have the expected impact in reducing the cost of food, because many of these products are more expensive abroad than in the Dominican Republic.
“And if, provisionally, they were cheaper, the difficulties that the world is experiencing with supply chains, the lack of containers, the cost of transportation and the escalation of a war that no one expected, does not guarantee that imported food will arrive, in the expected time, and at a lower price”, maintains the organization.
In a letter addressed to the President and the presidents of both legislative chambers, the Board of Directors of the JAD argues that depending on food produced by other countries is not only losing food sovereignty, but also losing what with so much effort they have achieved, food security.
«The JAD recognizes the climate of peace, progress and progress that we live in the country, which allows us to continue the sustained process of productive growth to supply our markets. Dominican agricultural producers have been able to ensure food supply to the national population, tourism and thousands of foreigners residing in our country. We are self-sufficient in the production of rice, chicken, eggs, plantains, yucca, sweet potatoes, and other essential goods of the basic food basket of the Dominican people. That is a privilege that we must take care of, that we must preserve at all costs, and that we must protect at any price », he expressed.
He recalled that an important part of these goods already has preferential access for producers from the United States of America, Europe, Central America and the Caribbean within the framework of trade agreements that allow reciprocity in the exchange treatment. “Just as we buy from them, we can also sell in those countries,” she said.
“Opening the market to other countries with which we do not have trade agreements, and for which we do not receive reciprocity, opens an uncertain avenue for us, very risky in phyto-zoosanitary terms for our producers and creates a precedent that would put our food sovereignty at risk. », he emphasized.
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He said that due to the experience that the JAD has in the international trade of goods of agricultural origin, they can ensure that depending on the circumstances, a food can be very expensive today, and very cheap tomorrow.
“High prices at one time and low prices at another time are temporary situations that a country with a stable economy, a democratic government and national producers committed to food self-sufficiency should not rush into,” he said.
He stated that President Luis Abinader, and his agricultural team, have shown an unquestionable commitment to support national production, exploring all measures within their reach to promote its sustainable development.
In this sense, the organization suggested to President Abinader and the National Congress to support national production; increase the local supply of chickens and eggs, an essential sector in the productive life of the country; increase the planting of beans and pigeon peas; continue to support dairy and beef production; support with more resources for seeds and technical assistance, the garlic producers of Constanza and eradicate African swine fever and continue the support program for small external pig farmers whose animals were eliminated.
Likewise, it recommends increasing the production of corn and sorghum; support, with targeted policies, the production of edible oils and pasta made in our territory, understanding that an increase in the national production of all these goods means an increase in the creation of jobs, creating wealth and improving the national economy .
The JAD also recommends reinstating a program of farmers’ markets and popular sales in the poorest neighborhoods and communities, under the coordination of the Ministry of Agriculture and the National Price Stabilization Institute (INESPRE).
Likewise, the entity expressed its support for the announcement of the President of the Republic, to increase the number of cheap dining rooms in the towns and in the popular neighborhoods of the cities.
“Both initiatives, the producers’ markets and the cheap kitchens, have shown that they are a formidable incentive to mitigate the impact on the family budget of the poorest segments of the country,” he said.
He also recommended continuing to alleviate the burden of rising prices faced by the country and the world, which he said is a temporary situation, which in the case of the Dominican Republic, will normalize with everyone’s efforts.
In this sense, it suggests expanding the targeted social subsidy program for the most vulnerable population, extending the coverage of the Supérate program, increasing the number of beneficiaries and the amount of economic support per family; design and implement a provisional food support program for the population located in the middle class-lower middle class. Include in it, the essential goods contained in the Bill.
The JAD proposes that the country request a Rapid Disbursement Facility of at least US$100 million from the Inter-American Development Bank or the World Bank, to finance the targeted subsidy program for producers, which they are suggesting.
“Our country made use of these facilities in 2008, when the world experienced a rise in the price of basic foods that humanity consumes. These measures would increase the purchasing power of the poorest population and the lower middle-middle class », he stressed.