The Dominican Republic could face tough food security situations if farmland continues to be used for property development, the agronomist said modest kings.
In making the warning, he stressed that it is imperative that the Planning Bill be approved, because with this regulation, it would be avoided that the best soils remain buried under stem and cement.
Reyes lamented that due to the attractiveness of the real estate sector, compared to another less profitable one such as agriculture, the most fertile soils of the country are urbanized, located in the provinces of Espaillat, Hermanas Mirabal, La Vega and in the municipality of Licey al Medio., in Santiago.
He also said that in Constanza another important agricultural areawhere fruit and vegetable crops abound, “the land is used for housing estates, cabins”.
In this context, he regretted that the aforementioned bill has been circulating in the National Congress for years.
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“We need to get the attention of lawmakers to expedite the approval of this law because the country cannot be neck and neck when it comes to preserving the best soils.
“You know how many thousands of years it takes for one centimeter of soil to form, more than a thousand years, so you have to preserve what you have, it’s not a trivial thing, the soil is basic, and in any country that wants to have food sovereignty must be preserved,” he said.
To his knowledge, approximately 30% of agricultural land they were reduced, also due to the weight of the ravages caused by the Conuquism “that is why the government must pay attention to this situation”.
The draft Organic Law on Land Use Planning, Land Use Planning and Human Settlements was submitted to the National Congress more than five years ago and is under consideration by a bicameral commission.
The role of local governments
Reyes understands that local governments they do not assume the role that corresponds to them vis-à-vis the problem posed.
“Local authorities are turning their backs on this situation, because it is the municipalities and public works that issue building permits. That is why we say that the issue of land use planning requires the approval of the law.
“In the Dominican Republic, the future is uncertain in terms of food security because of this problem, there is a tendency in the country to be more importers than exporters, and it is logical that our food culture is changing, there is had improvements that cannot be denied in the purchasing power of the people,” said Reyes.
However, he stressed that the domestic producer must be protected, not a small group.
“In 2021, we are importing over $4 billion in agricultural products, this leads us to think that, probably, a policy of protection of national production is necessary, since a very small group benefits from imports”.
In the context of agricultural spaces being lost, Reyes believes that the shift of the rural population to urban centers is due to the fact that the greatest economic activity is not in agriculture.
“For the estate to grow, we need to change the view that its residents are different, they are really the same as everyone else and need attention in all areas.”