Over the past 25 years, the Dominican Republic has enjoyed one of the strongest growth rates in Latin America and the Caribbean. Recent growth has been driven by construction, manufacturing and tourism.
Despite its strong growth and macroeconomic stability, the country has not witnessed significant social improvements until very recently. In 2013, more than one-third of the country’s total population lived in poverty, and 2.3 per cent lived in extreme poverty. In rural areas, poor people constitute half of the population.
Agriculture is the fourth-largest economic sector in the country, employing 12.6 per cent of the economically active population in 2016. However, 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.
The aim is to empower rural people's organizations in the border areas in order to improve poor people's living conditions and strengthen their socio-political role.
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 off-farm mall enterprise and employment opportunities of the rural poor, particularly women and young people, in the most dynamic sectors (e.g. tourism).
Activities are aimed at further consolidating efforts to promote gender equity and at helping poor rural people adapt to climate change.
- The Dominican Republic stands out as one of the fastest growing economies in the Americas. In 2014 and 2015, the GDP growth was at 7 per cent, making the country the most rapid economy in the region.
- Agriculture is the fourth-largest economic sector in the country, and the sector employs 15 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.
- Since 1980, IFAD has invested a total of US$75.9 million in seven programmes and projects related to agricultural development in the Dominican Republic, benefiting more than 77,730 households.