Friday, July 15, 2011

Trying New Techniques in the Dominican Republic

Organic greenhouses are off to a good start in Rio Limpio in the North West Mountains of the Dominican Republic! This is Rio Limpio’s first year of production and the yields are looking high and the fruit quality is top notch. They are trying, for the first time, techniques such as crop rotation as a way to naturally feed the soil and also to control diseases. Currently they are growing peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, and melons in the same greenhouses. This is a very profitable way of growing because they aren’t saturating the market with an abundance of just one crop. They have a wonderful seedling production room and are applying non synthetics at early stages of growth to prevent any diseases and help prevent infestations of pests. This is a new way of thinking in the Dominican where the use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers have, up to now, been the only answer. I wish them success in their efforts not only in a good harvest but in the continuation of integrating new ideas. They can be a great testing ground and will soon be able to provide data about organic methods as well as teaching tools to other greenhouses. Little by little small changes can be made to the environments of the greenhouses to improve the quality of production, yield, soil structure, and the health of the workers as well as the consumers. While the immediate change from commercial to organic is impossible to do this late in the operation of most of the greenhouses, the hope is that small changes and new techniques will ensure a step in the direction of a greenhouse that is more naturally sustainable and produces more profit than loss.

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