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The cassava industry is dying in Cibao

The cassava industry is dying in Cibao

It is noon and in the cassava factory of Cándida Mercedes Castillo, known in Monción as Doña Mechi, the employees are already going home, usually the hours were until the end of the day, but reality has changed, there is no bitter cassavathe raw material for cassava, and in small industries 20 or 30% of the regular production is produced.

The debts accumulate and income decreasesDoña Mechi has had to go to the bank and what she has saved to be able to pay the salary of the 10 permanent workers of her company, “I have had to find 2 million pesos to be able to solve, from savings and borrowed”, account.

But the situation extends to the different producers in the area, “There are factories that work two days a week with the little bitter cassava that appears, sometimes it is not good”says Paulino Peralta, president of the Casabe de Santiago Rodríguez producers.

The factories that produce cassava have reduced their production due to a lack of cassava.

Crisis

Monción is the capital of cassava cassava, it is the municipality with the highest production in the country, around 2,500 families depend directly and indirectly on the cassava industryIn addition, some 7,000 cassava producers grow bitter cassava throughout the region, in Loma de Cabrera, Capotillo, Villa Los Almácigos, and other communities in Santiago Rodríguez.

In the province, cassava is the main source of income, there is an average of 53 factories, of which 32 are located in MonciónHowever, they are currently only operating between 11 and 14, working at their minimum capacity.

There are those who have to wait one or two weeks to find cassava and produce again, while their operations remain halted.

drop in wages

In Mrs. Castillo’s factory, the burners work by production, depending on the number of cassava cakes they burn, multiply by the unit price, and the result is what they will charge.

The employees have gone from earning 7 to 10 thousand pesos a week, to earning RD$2,500since before a truckload of cassava for export was filled in a month, and now it takes three months.

What happened to the bitter cassava?

“There was a lack of planning by the producers, they planted without knowing in advance who was going to buy it, so there was an excess of cassava in the past, this caused the producers to have losses when selling the cassava,” says the president of the producers.

The Losses and drought were the ideal combination so that bitter cassava was not planted. Sweet cassava, which could be used as a substitute, is not recommended, because it does not allow the cassava to last in stores, since it is attacked by mold.

To have an idea Regular cassava can last three years canned, however, sweet cassava has mold after three months of storage.so it is difficult to export it.

Raw material

The producers have had to make a long route looking for raw material, in Cotuí, hundreds of kilometers away, they have found cassava, however, the distance increases production costs.

Some say that in Moca not enough bitter yucca is being produced, sweet yucca is regularly planted, and what they find does not have competitive prices.

The grocery stores

Most of them have stopped selling cassava, because although the demand is maintained, the production is not enough. They have to buy the unit at 70 pesos, to sell them between 85 or 90 pesos.

While the pound of cassava sells for 35 pesos. “This had never been seen here,” says a lady who bought groceries in a grocery store.

Complaint.

“There has been no communication from the government or the Ministry of Agriculture to find out what is going to be done with this situation,” says Paulino Peralta.

While Doña Mechi says “holding onto God, trying to see how we are going to resolve this situation”.

The cassava industry is a guarantee of security in the border area of ​​Santiago Rodríguez due to the number of jobs it generates.

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