Over the past 25 years, the Dominican Republic has enjoyed one of the strongest growth rates in Latin America and the Caribbean, mainly driven by construction, manufacturing and tourism. The COVID-19 pandemic stalled this trend and brought the country into recession, especially given the hit on the tourism sector.
The devastating effects of the pandemic have also driven poverty rates up to 25 per cent of the population, and extreme poverty up to 6.7 per cent.
Agriculture is the fourth-largest economic sector in the country, employing nine per cent of the economically active population in 2019. Traditional agriculture has been declining since the early 1980s, and extremely poor rural households increasingly depend on supplemental non-farm income for survival. The country’s poor farmers have little land and their production is too low to enable them to maintain their families.
Additionally, lack of access to financial resources and outreach systems prevents farmers from adopting the technologies they need to improve their production and incomes. Natural disasters are also a recurring threat to the living conditions and incomes of the rural population.
However, during the last decade, the Dominican Republic has emerged as one of the world’s foremost exporters of organic, quality and fair trade products. The Dominican Republic has about 14,000 organic growers, one of the largest organic sectors in Latin America. The challenge is to expand the conditions for small farmers to benefit from these market opportunities.
In the Dominican Republic, IFAD loans work to improve the well-being of the country's poor and extremely poor rural people by improving their income-earning capacity.
IFAD’s approach is to promote systemic changes in terms of productive inclusion, creating opportunities for poor rural people to access income-generating activities on-farm and off-farm through employment or self-employment (entrepreneurship). Our focus is to target women and youth, given their key role in the thriving of rural communities.
To ensure changes are sustainable over time, we engage in policy dialogue and inter-institutional coordination, advocating for policies that cater to the needs of the rural poor. Specifically, our programmes in productive inclusion aim to complement the Government’s social protection policies and programmes, helping rural families to escape rural poverty and build resilient and sustainable livelihoods.
A key principle of IFAD’s engagement in the country is the promotion of transparency in governance structures across all operations. We work through public-private partnerships that help deliver programmes efficiently by building on the strengths of each partner.
Key activities include:
- expand organized small farmers’ access to dynamic agri-food markets through inclusive and rewarding partnerships with the private sector;
- improve small farmers’ access to market-driven and climate change-adapted farming practices and technology; and
- increase human and social capital and develop on-farm and off-farm enterprise and employment opportunities of the rural poor, particularly women and young people.
- Improving rural youth's livelihoods through employment or self-employment and strengthening family resilience.
Activities are aimed at further consolidating efforts to promote gender equity and at helping poor rural people adapt to climate change.
The Dominican Republic’s trend of economic growth of the past years was stalled by the pandemic, which brought the economy into its first recession in decades.
Agriculture is the fourth-largest economic sector in the country, and the sector employs nine per cent of the economically active population.
The Dominican Republic has emerged as one of the world’s foremost exporters of niche (organic, quality, fair trade) products. With about 14,000 organic growers in the country, it is one of the largest organic sectors in Latin America.