Sondeo case study Las Cuevas Watershed, Dominican Republic: manual for informants

Material Information

Sondeo case study Las Cuevas Watershed, Dominican Republic: manual for informants
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Farming Systems Suppport Project (FSSP), University of Florida


Subjects / Keywords:
Caribbean ( LCSH )
Farming ( LCSH )
University of Florida. ( LCSH )
Agriculture ( LCSH )
Farm life ( LCSH )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida


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Full Text
Farming Systems Support Project (FSSP)
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida 32611

materials for this case study were prepared under the general supervision of Julie Howard, under contract to the Farming Systems Support Project (FSSP). Ms. Howard also compiled the informant and participant reports. Documents, maps, laboratory facilities and technical assistance were graciously provided by Dr. Gustavo Antonini of the Center for Latin American Studies and Roy Ryder, his research assistant.
Core information for the study was extracted from over twenty graduate theses on the Dominican Republic and Las Cuevas region written by University of Florida graduate students. Individual theses are listed in the
"References" section of the informant report. Survey materials prepared by Jose Nova, Juan Espinal, Gustavo Montanez and Roberta Cohen were particularly useful. Ms. Cohen, a graduate student in Food Science and Human Nutrition, also provided slides and technical assistance. Additional slides of Las Cuevas were lent by Dr. Peter Hildebrand, who also tested the case study in his Farming Systems Research and Extension class at the University of Florida. David Winter of the World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C., contributed all of the slides used to provide a general introduction to the Dominican Republic.
Interviews with University of Florida students Fernando Duran and Cecilia Diez yielded a substantial amount of information on current agricultural conditions in Las Cuevas which was incorporated into the informant report. Dr. Dan Galt, Dr. Hildebrand and Dr. James Jones played a critical advisory role during the organization and assembly of the materials. Lisette Walecka and Jim Dean offered suggestions which improved the format of the informant report. Finally, Farming Systems graduate students Ernest Bowen and James O'Connor provided invaluable research assistance and comments at all stages of the case study. The Farming Systems Support Project gratefully acknowledges all of the above contributions and those of others who have been inadvertently omitted.

This manual forms part of a case study intended to be used as a classroom training exercise on Rapid Rural Reconnaissance or Sondeo. This particular report is for the specific use of persons who will be role-playing INFORMANTS; two additional manuals are provided for participants and trainers. Two sets of slides and a wall-size map accompany the written materials.

A. Glossary ..................................................... 8
& Summary of indicators ........................................ 9
C. Location, area .............................................. 11
D. Topography .................................................. 11
E. Climate ..................................................... 11
F, Population .................................................. 12
G. Socio-Cultural Characteristics ......................... --13
H. Historical Events ........................................... 13
I. Government .................................................. 14
J. Economic Characteristics .................................... 14
K. Nutrition and Health ........................................ 17
A. Location, Area, Importance .................................. 19
B. Population .................................................. 19
C. Topography .................................. o ............... 20
D. Climatic Life zones ......................................... 20
E. Land ........................................................ 21
F. Economic Characteristics .................................... 23
G. Infrastructure ............................................ -24
H. Education ................................................... 24
I. Nutrition ................................................... 25
PART III. LAS CUEVAS AGRICULTURE ... o ............................ o ......... 26
A. Land .......... o ..................................... o ........ 27
B. Labor ............................... o ........................ 28
C. Agricultural Extension ....................................... 28
D. Inputs ....................................................... 28
E. Marketing .................................................... 29
F. Rural Financial markets ......................... o ............ 30
PART IV. LAS CUEVAS FARMING SYSTEMS ....................................... 31
A. major Farming Systems ................. o ..................... o32
B. Constraints .................................................. 42
C. Conservation ........... ... o ............................... 43
REFERENCES .................................................... o ............ 44

Figure 1. Location of the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean ........1 Figure 2. Principal Physiographic Provinces of the Dominican Republic ... 11 Figure 3. Isohyets of the Dominican Republic...................... 1
Figure 4. Provinces and Major Cities of the Dominican Republic .........12 Figure 5. Agriculture in the Dominican Republic ....................1
Figure 6. Las Cuevas Watershed, Dominican Republic ..................1
Figure 7. Location of Las Cuevas Watershed and the Azua Plain ..........19
Figure 8. Life zones in Las Cuevas. .. ... .. ........ ... .. .. .. .. ....... .20
Figure 9o Slope Classes in Las Cuevas .... o... ... .......... o.........-.20
Figure 10. Land Quality, Las Cuevas ......... .... o...o............... 22
Figure 11. Farm Land Use in Las Cuevas ....................... ........ 27
Figure 12. Adoption of Technology in Las Cuevas ...........o.... o...... 28

Table 1. Definitions of Three Levels of Quality for Site Evaluation ....... 22 Table 2. income Level by Size of Landholdings ............................. 23
Table 3-. Employment of Household Heads in Las Cuevas, 1981-82 ............. 24
Table 4. Frequency Distribution of Land Among Sample Households, Las Cuevas,
1981-82 ........................................................ 27
Table S. Land Use Within Las Cuevas Farms ................................. 27
Table 6. Agricultural output by Crop in Las Cuevas, 1981-82... ............ 32


BA Banco Agricola (Agricultual Bank)
CEDOPEX Center for Export Promotion
CENSERI Centro de Servicios Rurales Integrados (Integrated Rural
Services Center)
CDE Corporacion Dominicana de Electricidad (Dominican Electricity
IAD Instituto Agrario Dominicano (Agrarian Reform Institute)
IDECOOP Institute for Cooperative Credit
INDRHI Instituto Nacional de Recursos Hidraulicos (National Institute
of Water Resources)
INESPRE Instituto Nacional de Estabilizacion de Precios (National
Price Stabilization Institute)
MARENA Natural Resources Management Project
Quintal Unit of measurement. One quintal 100 pounds
SEA Secretaria de Estado de Agricultura (State Secretariat of
Tarea Unit of land measurement. One tarea 1/16 hectare

Population (mid-1983): 6.0 million
Area: 49,000 km2, approximately 1/3 the size of the state of
Capital: Santo Domingo
Unit of currency: peso. Officially, 1 DR peso- 1 US dollar; the
black market exchange rate is approximately DR$2.94-US$1.00
per capita (1983 dollars): 1,370
average annual growth rate, 1965-83 (%): 3.9
Growth of production:
average annual growth rate, (%) GDP Iif Industry Mfg Services
1965-73 8.5 5.9 14.4 12.0 6.9
1973-83 4.4 3.2 3.9 4.4 5.2
Structure of production:
distribution of GDP,(%) GDP(mlns$) Industry Mfg Services
1965 960 26 20 14 53
1983 8,530 17 29 18 55
Major exports: sugar, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, mineral products
Major imports: manufactured goods, oil, capital goods
Agriculture and food:
Value added in agriculture (mlns of 1980 dollars):
1970: 993 1983: 1,577
Cereal imports (thousands of metric tons):
1974: 252 1983: 392
Food aid in cereals (thousands of metric tons):
1974/5: 16 1982/3: 167
Fertilizer consumption (hundreds of grams of plant
nutrient per hectare arable land):
1970: 354 1982: 353
Average index of food production per capita (1974-76-100):
1981-83: 95
Population growth:
Average annual growth of population, (%):
1965-73: 2.9 1973-83: 2.4

Labor force:
Percentage of population of working age (15-64):
1965: 48 1983: 55
% of labor force in Year Ag Industry Services
1965 64 13 23
1981 49 18 33
Average annual growth of labor force,(%):
1965-73: 2.7 1973-83: 3.2
Urban population as percentage of total population:
1965: 35 1983: 54
Average annual growth rate of urban population,(%):
1965-73: 5.6 1973-83: 4.7
Life exnctancy and health:
Life expectancy at birth(1983): 63
Infant mortality rate (aged under one, per thousand live
births in a given year):
1965: 103 1983: 63
Child death rate (aged 1-4, per thousand children in
same age group in a given year):
1965: 14 1983: 5
Population per
Year physician nursing person
1965 1,720 1,640
1980 2,410 n/a
Daily calorie supply (per capita):
Total, 1982: 2,179
As percentage of requirement, 1982: 96
No. enrolled in primary school as percentage of age group:
Total,1965: 87 Total,1982: 103
Male, 1965: 87 Male, 1982: 98
Female, 1965:87 Female,1982:108
No. enrolled in secondary school as percentage of age
Total,1965: 12 Total,1982: 41
No. enrolled in higher education as percentage of age
group 20-24:
Total,1965: 2 Total,1982: 10
Central government
Expenditures as percentage of GNP:
1972: 18.5 1982: 14.1
Current revenue as percentage of GNP:
1972: 17.9 1982: 10.7
(World Bank, 1985)

The Dominican Republic occupies the eastern two-thirds of Hispaniola, the second largest island in the Greater Antilles (Figure 1). It has a subtropical windward coastal location, at 17 degrees 36'-19 degrees 50'N latitude and 68 degrees 14'-72 degrees 01'W longitude. Total land area is 48,442 square kilometers, about one-third the size of the state of Florida.
About two-thirds of the Dominican Republic consists of highlands, while the remaining third is gently rolling lowlands. Four major parallel mountain ranges trend northwest-southeast (Figure 2). The Cordillera Central (Central Range) (1,660-3,807m) extends from northwestern Haiti almost to Santo Domingo, and contains the highest peak in the Antilles, Pico Duarte (3,807m). All of the Dominican Republic's major rivers begin in the Cordillera Central, and the Las Cuevas watershed is located on the southern flank of this range. The other major chains are the Cordillera Septentrional (Northern Range) (500-1,000m), the Sierra de Neiba and Sierra de Bahoruco (Neiba and Bahoruco Ranges) (1,000-2,000m) in the southwest, and the Cordillera Oriental (Eastern Range) (350-660m) (F.Perez Luna,1984:11; May and McLellan, 1973:193).
The valleys formed by these ranges contain the nation's richest
agricultural land. The largest and most important lowland area is the Valle del Cibao (Cibao Valley), drained by two major river systems. The Ciba-i's intensely cultivated and the second largest city, Santiago, is located here. Principal crops are rice, cocoa, tobacco, beans, corn, vegetables, peanuts, yams and bananas (May and McLellan, 1973:194).
The Valle de San Juan (San Juan Valley) is the second most important flatland. The main crops are rice, beans, pigeon peas, corn and plantains.
The Valle de Enriquillo (Enriquillo Valley) is the lowest and driest
region of the Dominican Republic. Lake Enriquillo, a large, saline lake lying about 47 meters below sea level, is located in the western half of the valley. Land in the eastern half is irrigated by the Yaque del Sur River and used primarily for sugarcane production (May and McLellan, 1973:194).
Patches of coastal plains are found along the Caribbean and northern coasts. The Las Cuevas River feeds into a major reservoir, which in turn irrigates the Azua Coastal Plain, an important agricultural region which produces tomatoes, melons, corn, beans, sorghum and plantains. Livestock production is particularly important in the eastern plains of the Dominican Republic (F.Perez-Luna, 1984:11; May and McLellan, 1973:194, personal communication, F.Duran,1986).
The Dominican Republic's insularity and heterogeneous topography
influence local climatic regimes that vary markedly from arid to wet and from cool to hot.

100* 9o 0 700 60so*
" Atlantis Ocean
RO* Dominicon Republic zo
. Holti
/" Caribbeen Seeo
-10* 10*Pacific Ocean
0 200 600Krn
. .. IS /
0ur00 1 Lo u it C e (
Figure 1. Location of the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean (Montanez, 1985)

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note0 **+,, do* s.
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Fig.2. rinipalPhyiogaic rvne fteDoiia eulc SataoUea 92

1. Temrature
While frost and occasional snow can be found at the higher elevations, for most of the country temperature readings above 32 C or below 0 C are unusual. The average annual temperature in the lowlands, e.g. Santo Domingo, is about 26.5 C; in the highlands, e.g. Constanza, it is about 19.5 C. The national average temperature is 25 C (F.Perez-Luna,1984:9-11).
2. Rainfall
Rainfall varies sharply, from 350=u in the Neiba valley to 2750m at
Laguna Limon in the far northeastern part of the country (Figure 3). The dry season usually occurs from December to March, but the Cordillera Septentrional (Northern Range) gets the majority of its precipitation from November to January due to the strengthening of trade winds. The rainy season lasts from
May through November, a period of weak trade winds when hurricanes are most likely to occur (Hartshorn et al.,1981, cited in F. Perez-Luna, 1984:12; F.Perez-Luna,1984:12).
3. Soils
Soils in the Biican Republic vary greatly, ranging from sandy loam to clay textures, from very strongly acid to very strongly alkaline (pH 3.5 to 10.3), and from infertile to fertile (0.1 to 55.4 per cent organic matter in mineral soils) (Santiago Urena,1982:10). Most of the soils are not highly weathered, but are relatively young soils developed on residual rock or alluvial materials (Perez Rivas, 1981:4). Free et al. (1975) reported that Dominican soils do not fit into the popular concept of tropical soils (cited in Santiago Urena, 1982:10).
4. Land Use
About 44 per cent of the total area of the Dominican Republic is
classified as agricultural land. Twenty-two per cent of the land is cropped and 21.6 per cent is in pasture. Forest land and reserves compose 54.4 per cent of the total area, and the remainder is lakes and non-usable land. (ONAPLAN, 1980:1, cited in Chanlatte,1983:5). While only 44 per cent of the total land area is classified as having moderate to high agricultural potential, about 57 per cent of all land was actually used for farming activities in 1977 (F.Perez-Luna,1984:12).
In mid-1983, the population of the Dominican Republic was six million (World Bank,1985), with an average density of 115 inhabitants per square kilometer. However, when only agricultural land is considered, population density rises to 267 inhabitants per kilometer, relatively high compared to other Latin American countries (F.Perez-Luna,1984:12).
Santo Domingo is the capital and largest city in the Dominican Republic, with a population of 673,470 (1970) (Figure 4). Santiago de los Caballeros is the second largest city, with 155,000 inhabitants (1970). Other major cities include San Pedro de Macoris, San Francisco de Macoris, Barahona, La Romana and San Juan de la Maguana (A.Perez-Luna, 1979:8).
About 54 per cent of the population lived in urban areas in 1983,
compared to only 35 per cent in 1965. The average annual growth rate of the urban population has slowed in recent years, however. In 1965-73 the annual rate was 5.6 per cent; by 1973-83 it had decreased to 4.7 per cent (World Bank,1985).

1604 1uv0
..,.. .. ..- o, CARIBAEAN SEA
***,o, Average rainfall in mm
Fia. 3. Isohyets of the Dominican Republic. (Santiago Urena, 1982)

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oil20 Purt Plata4e0It
n 24. Bahoru f 1. La Rooaad hchzRm~z 2.s anig org Padr LasCasa 5.e kN oI La Altagraca 9.E a 05 Srvican ap l
r.avervi Do. n l Seb & Steo 6fotcs
7C, .t 2 a Crsba 3 ann 9.L ea.7 aa
Figur4 5ae" B.(ay adM lai 93

1. a
Spanish is the official language of the Dominican Republic, spoken by
about 98 per cent of the population. About 1.2 per cent speak Haitian patois,
0.6 per cent English and 0.2 per cent other languages (May and McLellan, 1973:196).
2. Ethnic Composition
Taino Indians were the original inhabitants of Hispaniola, but by the mid 1500s the population was severely decimated by disease and harsh treatment at the hands of the Spaniards. Black slaves were imported from Africa beginning in the early 1500s to supplement the dwindling Taino workforce. The present population is predominantly mixed, with significant minorities of Chinese, Japanese and Arabs (ay and mLlellan, 1973:195).
3. Religion
About 95 per cen-tof the population is Roman Catholic, while two per cent is Protestant (ay and McLellan, 1973:196).
4. Class structure
Social stratification is based on ancestry, wealth and political power. The Dominican elite make up less than five per cent of the population and consider themselves to be pure-blooded descendants of Spanish nobility. The next stratum consists of the new rich who have gained prestige through the acquisition of political and economic power rather than ancestry. Members of these upper strata usually live in urban areas (May and McLellan,1973:195-96).
There is a significant middle class, due largely to Trujillo's expansion of the government bureaucracy and the growth of industry and conrce under his rule. The lower classes are composed of laborers, itinerant vendors, craftsmen, tenant farmers and sugar cane cutters. Middle and lower class members are found in cities as well as in smaller towns and rural areas. (ay and McLellan, 1973:195-96).
1492: Hispaniola is discovered by Christopher Columbus. 1496: Santo Domingo is founded. The Spanish develop gold mines and sugar
plantations using forced Indian labor. Spanish settlements are
concentrated east of the Artibonito River; western Hispaniola was later settled by French, eventually becoming the Republic of Haiti. 1503: Importation of black African slaves begins; by 1520, blacks dominate
the population.
1520s: Gold deposits near exhaustion; many Spaniards leave to settle in
Mexico and Peru. The Dominican economy stagnates.
1795: The Spanish are forced out of Santo Domingo by French forces and
the colony is ceded to France. A black Haitian, Toussaint l'Ouverture,
is made governor and slaves are freed. A second major exodus of
Spanish settlers occurs.
1809: The Spanish regain control of Santo Domingo, with British help. 1822: The Haitians, having achieved independence from France in 1804, seize
Santo Domingo.

1844: Led by Duarte, Sanchez and Mella, the Dominicans declare independence
and drive the Haitians back to the western end of the island. The
Haitians make repeated attacks until 1855; Dominican leaders, fearing reconquest, request annexation to Spain, France, England and the U.S.
at various times.
1861: Spain resumes colonial administration.
1865: Independence is restored; alternating periods of political turmoil and dictatorship follow.
1905: U.S. government establishes a receivership over Dominican customs houses.
1924: U.S. military occupation.
1930: Political power is seized by General Leonidas Trujillo; a repressive
31-year dictatorship begins.
1961: Trujillo is assasinated.
1965: U.S. military occupation, April. 1966: Joaquin Balaguer is elected president; either Balaguer or a close
political ally holds the office until 1978.
1978: Balaguer's supporters threaten a military coup after election results
show him trailing his opponent, Antonio Guzman. U.S. President Jimmy Carter intervenes and Guzman becomes president, pledging to step down
after four years as the Consitution mandates.
1979: Hurricanes David and Frederick strike the island. 1982: Salvador Jorge Blanco succeeds Guzman as president.
(May and McLellan, 1973:196-97; personal communication,F.Duran,1986)
A new constitution adopted in 1966 provides for a President and Vice-President elected to four-year terms, a Cabinet composed of 12 Secretaries appointed by the President, and a bicameral Congress made up of 27
Senate and 74 House members elected to four-year terms. The president appoints a governor for each of the 27 provinces.
1. Basic indicators
Economic growth has been slow since 1974, when major expansionary
impulses declined in the mining and industrial sectors. Average annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth declined to 4.4 per cent in 1973-83, compared to 8.5 per cent in 1965-73 (World Bank,1985). The consumer price index for 1978, 1979 and 1980 increased by 7.1, 9.2 and 16.7 per cent respectively, then moderated somewhat in 1981 (Banco Central, 1981:155, cited in Chanlatte, 1983).
2. Level and distribution of income
In 1983, the per capita Gross National Product (GNP) was $1,370 (1983 US dollars). By comparison, Haiti's per capita GNP was $300, Honduras' was $670, Peru's was $1,040 and Ecuador's per capita GNP was $1,420 (World Bank,1985).
Income distribution is very uneven. A 1976-77 household survey revealed that 50 per cent of the population had an income below the poverty level, defined as earnings of less than DR$22 per month. This 50 per cent received only 18.5 per cent of total income in the Dominican Republic (World Bank, 1980).

The proportion of the population living below the poverty level is
higher in rural than urban areas. Nearly two-thirds of the rural population earns less than DR$30 monthly, and one-third earns under DR$20. Urban areas contain a larger proportion of higher income households, eight per cent of all households compared to only three per cent in rural areas. The index of Gini coefficients indicates that there is significantly more income concentration in urban than in rural areas, 0.471 versus 0.434, where 0-complete equality and 1-complete inequality (World Bank, 1980).
3. Unemployment
Urban unemployment was estimated at approximately 24 per cent of the economically active population in Santo Domingo in 1977-78. Rural
unemployment and disguised un-and under-employment are expected to be much higher (F.Perez-Luna, 1984:15).
4. Leading exports and imports
In 1979, the value of exports represented 16 per cent and imports 21 per cent of GDP. Agricultural products compose the bulk of exports, although their share has decreased in recent years. Sugar, coffee, cocoa and tobacco together accounted for over 50 per cent of total exports. Bauxite, ferronickel, gold and silver represented 39.4 per cent.
Intermediate goods were the major category of imports, representing 29.8 per cent of the total in 1974, followed by consumer goods, 26.8 per cent, and capital goods, 23.9 per cent. Fuels and lubricants had the fastest growth rate among all imports, with average annual growth at 68.3 per cent between 1970-74. The Dominican Republic has faced a persistent food deficit over the past two decades. Rice, corn and edible oils accounted for 79 per cent of food imports. Total cereal imports have increased from 252,000 to 392,000 metric tons in the period 1974-83 (Banco Central, 1981:129, cited in Chanlatte, 1983:13; World Bank,1985).
5. Agriculture
Agriculture dominates the Dominican economy. Fifty-six per cent of the total labor force (1970) is employed in agriculture, and it is estimated that over 90 per cent of industrial employment (1970) is related to the processing of agricultural products (SEA, 1980 cited in F. Perez-Luna, 1984:15; Nova, 1984:3).
a. Major agricultural products (Figure 5) Food crops: rice, corn; red kidney beans, pigeon peas, peanuts; cassava,
potatoes, sweet potatoes and other tubers; tomatoes, squash,
peppers and other vegetables; plantains, bananas and other
tropical fruits
Export crops: sugarcane, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, bananas
Livestock: beef cattle, poultry, goats, sheep. Pigs were important
until 1979, when the entire swine population had to be
destroyed after an outbreak of African Swine Fever.
Repopulation programs are currently underway.
b. Land
About 80 per cento--o-the nation's total food supply comes from small and medium-sized farms with less than 160 tareas (one tarea-one-sixteenth of a hectare). However, land distribution is extremely skewed. There are an

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O' 0v (D Q~e 0 Tobacco
9 cattle
v Sheep
Figure 5. (may and McLellan, 1973)

estimated 255,169 farm units in the country with a total of 2,707,173 hectares (1971). Eighty-six per cent of all producers held under 9.9 hectares (mean,
2.6 hectares) and farmed 21 per cent of the total cultivated land. An additional 23 per cent of agricultural land was controlled by only 216 farmers (SEA, 1981, cited in F. Perez-Luna, 1984:5; ONE, 1976:29-31, SEA, 1976, cited in A. Perez-Luna, 1979:12).
Fifty-three per cent of the total farm units were owner-operated, 19 per cent were non-titled holdings, 7 per cent were rented or leased and 4 per cent
were agrarian reform holdings. Seventeen per cent of total farms were held by more than one type of ownership (ONE, 1976:29-31; SEA, 1976, cited in A. Perez-Luna, 1979:12).
c. Government policies and institutions
The State Secretariat of Agriculture (SEA) is the major public
institution in the agricultural sector. SEA maintains five research centers and approximately 80 local offices staffed by over 400 extension agents. Seeds, fertilizer, pesticides and equipment are available from SEA and private
firms, although inputs are frequently difficult to obtain in more remote areas (A.Perez-Luna,1979:14; personal communication, F.Duran,1986).
The Dominican government and foreign donors have invested heavily in dams and irrigation systems over the past two decades. Public expenditures in dams and irrigation channel construction totaled US$600 million from 1966-76 (Breton, 1977:4, cited in A. Perez-Luna, 1979:13). By 1976, about 125,000 hectares were under irrigation, but the total potential area of irrigable land is estimated at 344,000 hectares. Almost half of the irrigated land is being used for rice production (CONPLAN,1976:45, 192, cited in A. Perez-Luna,1979:13). The National Institute for Water Resources (INDRHI) is the government agency responsible for the construction, maintenance and management of irrigation systems. The Dominican Electricity Corporation (CDE) manages the hydroelectric power generated by the dams; frequently there are conflicts between INDHEI and CDE over the management of the dam system for agricultural versus electricity generation purposes (personal communication, F.Duran,1986).
The Agrarian Reform Institute (IAD) was created in the 1960s to bring about a more equitable division of land through the distribution of publicly-owned properties, including the vast landholdings of the Trujillo family. AD also provides credit and technical assistance to small farmers (May and McLellan, 1973:198).
The Agricultural Bank (Banco Agricola) is the major public source of
agricultural credit for farmers. IAD and the Institute for Cooperative Credit (IDECOOP) also have credit programs.
The private sector dominates the marketing of most agricultural products, but two public agencies play a role in marketing activities. The Dominican Export Promotion Center (CEDOPEX) does not participate directly inthe" marketing process, but promotes the export of Dominican products abroad. The Price Stabilization Institute (INESPRE) regulates producer and consumer prices
for some food comodities, principally rice and beans, as well as sorghum, onions, vegetable oil, sugar, corn, garlic and potatoes. INESPRE has an effective monopoly on the marketing of rice in the Dominican Republic. The

government subsidizes the consumer price of rice by about 18 Dominican centavos per pound. INESPRE sets support prices for the other commodities, but the private sector dominates the actual marketing process. The Dominican government has also invested heavily in the improvement of farm to market roads in recent years. The Public Works Office (Obras Publicas) is the
governmental agency responsible for road construction and maintenance (A.Perez-Luna,1979:14-15; personal communication, F.Duran,1986).
1. Typical diet
Rice with red e s is hie traditional staple dish in the Dominican diet.
Plantains, cassava and other tubers, corn and fresh fruits such as mangoes, oranges and avocadoes are also popular. Beef, chicken, fish, goat and dairy products are more expensive and consumed less frequently. Rice is the most important staple food, with per capita consumption estimated at nearly one hundred pounds annually (1975) (A.Perez-Luna,1979:1). A low-income family earning DR$100 monthly spends an estimated 38 per cent of total income on cereals, beans, tubers and sugar, while a family earning DR$800 monthly spends only 11.6 per cent of total income on these items (Mancebo, 1984:7).
2. Protein and calorie intake
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health
Organization (WHO) have established minimum nutritional requirements for the Dominican Republic at 2300 calories and 47.5 grams of protein daily. In 1981, actual per capita availability was estimated at 1960 calories and 38.6 grams of protein daily, however. Overall, an estimated 75 per cent of the population consumes less food than necessary to fulfill minimum nutritional requirements. The nutritional situation may be worsening; consumption of calories per person fell 9.2 per cent from 1973-77 (ONAPLAN,1978, cited in F.Perez-Luna,1984:21; ONAPLAN,1980, cited in Chanlatte, 1983:9).
3. Malnutrition
Malnutrition among Dominican pre-school children is increasingly being recognized as a serious problem. Four studies conducted in different regions of the country between 1972-82 found that approximately 34 per cent of pre-schoolers surveyed were normal, i.e. showed no signs of malnutrition; about 45 per cent suffered from first degree (least severe) malnutrition; 18 per cent were classified as second degree cases; and about three per cent suffered from third degree malnutrition (Sebrell,1972; Suero,1986; Bruce,1982 cited in Bruce, 1982).
4. Health
The principal causes of death in the Dominican Republic are
gastroenteritis and related digestive tract diseases. Nutrition deficiencies, pneumonia and tetanus are also responsible for a significant proportion of deaths (UCLA, 1983).
Most health indicators have improved in recent years. Infant mortality (age 0-1) has declined from 103 per thousand in 1965 to 65 per thousand in 1983, and the child death rate (age 1-4) has decreased from 14 per thousand in 1965 to five per thousand in 1983. Life expectancy (1983) is 63 years. However, medical facilities and personnel continue to be concentrated in urban areas, and the physician to population ratio has declined in recent years, from one physician per 1,720 persons in 196 to one per 2,410 in 1980 (World Bank,1985). The Public Health Service (SESPAS) operates a network of public hospitals and small clinics in rural areas, but they are poorly stocked with medicines and the low salaries are unattractive to medical personnel.


Las Cuevas watershed is located on the southern flank of the island's
Cordillera Central (Central Range), between 18 degrees 31'-50'N latitude and 71 degrees 03' -30'W longitude (Figure 6). The watershed covers about 600 square kilometers, and occupies parts of Azua, Peravia and La Vega provinces.
The Las Cuevas River flows west along the south flank of the Cordillera Central to its confluence with the Yaque del Sur River, the second largest in the Dominican Republic. The Las Cuevas River provides water to the Sabana Yegua hydroelectric dam and reservoir facility, which in turn supplies irrigation water to the Azua plain and hydroelectricity to the southern Dominican Republic (Figure 7) (Montanez, 1985:9; Reynoso,1983:6-8).
Prior to 1978, the Azua plain was a marginal agricultural area because of lack of rainfall or surface water. Since construction of the Sabana Yegua irrigation system, the region has become increasingly important in the production of tomatoes, melons and other crops. In 1978, only 5,500 hectares were irrigated, but the amount was expected to at least double between 1978-85 (SEA,1981:4, Hartshorn et al.,1981:44,cited in Espinal, 1983:8).
In recent years, accelerated erosion in the Las Cuevas watershed has been dumping millions of tons of sediment into the Sabana Yegua reservoir,
shortening its anticipated life span and posing a significant threat to the Azua plain irrigation project. Socio-economic factors and an uneven pattern of land ownership have pushed the rural poor to use increasingly steeper and more marginal lands to survive. This process has contributed to the rapid deterioration of the natural resource base in Las Cuevas over the last four decades. Land degradation is easily observed in the dominance of shallow topsoils, presence of gullies, rills, landslides and more frequent water shortages due to the decreased water-holding capacity of eroded soils (Hartshorn et al.,1981, cited in Montanez,1985:14; Montanez,1985:14).
In 1981, the Dominican government and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) launched a five year, US$22 million Natural Resources Management Project (MARENA). The primary objective of MARENA is to create an
overall framework for improving natural resource management together with the social and economic well-being of families living in two priority watersheds, Las Cuevas and Ocoa. These two regions sustained severe damage when Hurricanes David and Frederick struck in 1979 (Antonini et al., 1981:1).
The 1980 census reported a total of 31,148 persons living in the Las Cuevas watershed. The population has increased by about 61 per cent since 1960, when the census reported 19,360 inhabitants, indicating an average annual growth rate of approximately 2.5 per cent (Secretariado Tecnico de la Presidencia, 1982, 1983, cited in Espinal, 1983:3).
Over one-third of the population lives in one of the two major towns in the watershed, Padre las Casas and Guayabal. The remaining two-thirds live in small settlements in the hills or along the terraces and flood plains adjoining the Las Cuevas River and its tributaries. Fifty-seven per cent of Las Cuevas inhabitants are under the age of 18 (Espinal, 1983:3,5).

elm 7LGuayabal
Irv ____________ El Desecho
Padre de la's Casas
Palma Cana
Lav Cuvvs Walarshed Dominican Republic Figure 6. Las Cuevas watershed, Dominican Republic.

o . . ; .. ..
, -. "
* .<. . ** ..
. s ......... ** *..*
"t O* ** .
Fi. IrrLoallon Cho ann la ( s n l 1
]Sabana Yeou. Dom /
Los Cweva,' Wolerased /
'- AtUa "Plain',.
Fig. 7. Location of Las Cuevas Watershed and the Azua Plain. (Espinal, 1983)

More than 80 per cent of the Las Cuevas region is mountainous, especially the eastern sector, where elevations range from 2,200 to 2,800 meters above sea level. The highlands are characterized by very steep slopes underlain by
impermeable to semi-permeable volcanic, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. About 13 per cent of the region is made up of plateaus and interior lowlands underlain by permeable sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. The remaining area consists of recent floodplains and river terraces (Reynoso,1983:8).
Four life zones have been identified in the Las Cuevas region (Figure 8). The western 12 per cent of the watershed has Dry Subtropical Forest conditions, with 750 mm of rainfall annually and an average temperature of 24.5 C. This is the oldest agricultural area in the watershed; the floodplains and terraces in this zone have favored a relatively intensive, irrigated agriculture. Rice, beans and peanuts are the major crops. Most of the surrounding hills and high terraces are still covered by natural scrub and trees, and are utilized as sources of firewood and grazing lands. Average
slope is less than 16 degrees, and elevation ranges from 420-680m (Figure 9). Padre las Casas, the largest town in the watershed, is located in this life zone (Montanez,1985:9-12; Reynoso,1983:9).
Elevation and average humidity increase from west to east. subtropical Moist Forest conditions prevail in approximately ten per cent of te watershed.7 The average annual temperature is 21 C, and mean annual evapotranspiration is about 20 per cent less than mean annual precipitation. The relief includes rolling lands with moderate to steep slopes of 30-65 degrees, and elevations range from 620 to 1250 meters. Lithosols predominate and recent alluvium is found in intermontane valley floors and in areas adjoining the Las Cuevas River. Coffee, plantains, cassava, beans and other subsistence crops are grown (Montanez,1985:12; Ledesma,1983:5; Reynoso, 1983:9-11).
Subtropical Lower Montane Forest characteristics are present in about 60 per cent of the watershed. Here the mean annual rainfall is more than 20 per cent greater than annual evapotranspiration, and the average annual
temperature is between 12 16 C. Steep to very steep slopes of 30 65 degrees and greater than 65 degrees prevail, and elevations range from 780 to 2520 meters. Lithosols predominate. Rainfed multiple cropping is practiced extensively and consists of associations of red beans, pigeon peas, corn and cassava. Coffee and plantain are also grown. Natural vegetation appears in the form of isolated trees and a few continuous patches of forest at the more inaccessible higher elevations (Montanez,1985:12; Ledesma,1983:6; Reynoso,1983:6).
The extreme northeastern portion of the watershed is characterized by Subtropical Montane Wet Forest conditions, representing about 13 per cent of the basin area. Annual rainfall is estimated at more than 2000 am; mean annual precipitation is 55 per cent greater than potential evapotranspiration. Frosts occur regularly during the first months of the year. Slopes vary from steep to very steep, and elevations range between 1640 and 2660 meters. Some
land is sporadically cultivated with beans, while the remainder is covered by fallow pasture or pine forest (ontanez,1985:13; Ledesma,1983:6).

* ..... ....*~
,of! j. me j~ %
FDry Subtropical U.i~ ~~
*Ii WC Subtropical .*
Low Montana Wet .,A
Fig. 8. Life zones in Las Cuevas. (Montanez, 1985)

I c t12 1 4-Y
3-8 8-16
' 16-30
F30-66 s
s I 66+
Fig. 9. Slope Classes (Montanez 1985).

1. Settlement
Beginning in the late 1800s, farm families began to move into Las Cuevas as they were displaced from other areas, a result of land concentration and population growth in the lowlands and adjacent highland ranges. By the 1930s, permanent settlements had been established along the Las Cuevas River and its tributaries. Forests were cleared and sawmills were established in Padre las Casas and Las Lagunas. Initially only the better land was cropped, but eventually all types of land were placed under shifting cultivation. In less than four decades, more than 80 per cent of the watershed has been deforested and converted to marginal agriculture (Montanez,1985:73).
2. Land use
Antonini et al. estimate that approximately 33.33 per cent of the total land area in Las Cuevas is forested, 30.02 per cent is cropped and 29.82 per
cent is in pasture. The remaining area is divided between marginal lands,
6.42 per cent, and settlements, .41 per cent (1985:46).
3. Land quality
The same authors collected information on 50 different land and soil
properties at 483 sites in the Las Cuevas watershed. Through factor analysis,
19 diagnostic variables were identified which explained 76 per cent of the variation. These variables were then classified into three quality levels related to potential agricultural productivity and land management needs (Table 1).

Slope % 25+ 17-24 <16
Soil depth cm. <20 21-40 41+
Thickness of topsoil Cm. <20 21-40 41+
Silt/clay ratio,topsoil silt:clay >1.5,<0.5 1.2-1.4 0.6-1.1
Organic: matter,topsoil % <2 >2,<4 >4
pH,topsoil log scale >7.3,<5.5 5.5-7.2
Exchangeable calcium,topsoil meq/oUgm >90,<20 21-40 41-90
Effective cation exchange
capacity,topsoil meq/o100ogm <20 21-40 41+
Base saturation,topsoil me /100gm >90,<30 31-45 46-90
Phosphorus,topsoil p.p.m. <15 16-30 31+
Exchangeable magnesium,subsoil meq/1009m >90,<20 21-40 41-90
Depth of surface erosion
channels: <1/3m(1);1/3-2m(4);
2-5m(7);>5m(10) 7,10 4 1
Drainage very poorly drained( 0o);
-excessive drainage(6) 0,1,2,5,6 3,4
Stoniness of surface % of surface covered: <0.01(0) ;0.01-0.09(1);
15-90(4);>90(5) 4.5 3 0,1,2
Erosion intensity slight(1);moderate(2);
severe(3) 3 2 1
Texture,topsoil light(1 -very heavy(4) 4,1 3,2
Texture,subsoil light(1)-very heavy(4) 1,4 2,3
Erosion class sheet(l) ;rill(2);gully
(3);no surface erosion
(4);mass movement(5) 2,3,6 1 4
Coarse fragments
in topsoil absent(0);present(1) 1 0
(adapted from Antonini et al., 1985)
Composite scores were developed for each of the 483 observation sites and
a land quality evaluation map was produced with three ranked quality classes. (Figure 10). Level 1 (worst) land represents 52 per cent of the watershed. This area is composed of non-agricultural land (i.e. land which should be forested) or land which is of little utility for agriculture. Average slopes are greater than 27 per cent and soils are shallow, averaging less than 33 cn. Level 2 land represents about 29 per cent of the watershed and has moderate agricultural potential. Slopes are slightly less steep than Level 1, and soils are deeper, averaging 43 centimeters. Level 2 land requires the application of conservation techniques to preserve the soil. Approximately 19 per cent of the watershed is Level 3 (best) land, which is considered to be of good or excellent quality for agriculture. The authors estimate that 47 per cent of the total area of Las Cuevas watershed is incorrectly used according to this system of site quality evaluation (Antonini et al.,1985).

Level I (worst)
Figure 10. Land Quality, Las Cuevas (adapted from Antonini et aI., 19. Level I! (medium) Level Ili (best)

1. Income
Espinal foundtEhousehold incomes in Las Cuevas were lower than the national average:
Las Cuevas National
Average household income DR$1,841 DR$2,900
Average rural household income 1,582 2,127
Average urban household income 2,390 3,973
a. Distribution of income
Income distribution in Las Cuevas appears to be somewhat more skewed than than in the country as a whole. An estimated 55 per cent of households have incomes below the national poverty level, and these households together earn only 16 per cent of total income. Nationally, 50 per cent of households fall below the poverty level and earn 18.5 per cent of total income (Espinal, 1983:78; World Bank, 1980).
while Las Cuevas has a larger proportion of households below the
poverty level than nationally, there are fewer households with incomes above DR$3600. Ten per cent of Las Cuevas households earn more than DR$3600 annually, receiving 40 per cent of total income. Nationwide, 21 per cent of households earn more than DR$3600 and receive 55 per cent of total income (Espinal, 1983:81).
b. Sources of income
Of total household income in Las Cuevas, 50 per cent is generated from
farm activities, an indication of the importance of agriculture in the region.
Off-farm employment of household heads contributes 38 per cent of income, and income earned by household members other than the head represents about 13 per cent of total income (Espinal,1983:56).
Las Cuevas incomes are positively related to size of landholdings, and the proportion of household income earned off-farm is inversely related to size of landholdings. Households with less land are more dependent on off-farm income for subsistence. Table 2 shows that households with less than ten tareas of land earn 84 per cent of household income off-farm, while the proportion decreases to seven per cent for households with more than 500 tareas. Forty per cent of off-farm income is generated from hired agricultural activities, 34 per cent from government employment and 20 per cent from commercial activities (Espinal, 1983:63,72).
Size of Mean Income Proportion of # of
holding Total Income Farm Income Off-Farm Income Households
tareas DR$ (%)
< 10 1,141.76 181.21 84.1 24
11-50 1,165.34 611.26 47.5 84
51-100 1,265.81 818.36 35.3 44
101-500 4,432.72 3,597.00 18.9 28
501+ 6,200.40 5,794.23 6.6 12

2. Employmnt
Espinal found that 67 per cent of surveyed households in Las Cuevas were engaged in agricultural production on owned or rented land. Table 3 shows the specific distribution of employment among household heads:
Employment Per cent (%)
Farm owned or rented land only 36
Farm and other activities, e.g. trading
or government employment 9
Hired-agricultural worker, also farm own land 15 Hired agricultural worker only 14
Government employee only 8
Trader only 3
Charcoal maker and other activities 2
Charcoal maker only 1
(adapted from Espinal,1983:46)
1. Roads
The road infrastructure in Las Cuevas is very poor. A gravelled road connects Padre las Casas and Guayabal with the main highway leading to Azua and Santo Domingo, but only one main dirt trail connects Padre las Casas with the highland settlements to the east. Connecting farm-to-market trails are often impassable during the rainy season (Lois, 1982:10).
2. Government institutions
Both the State Secretariat of Agriculture (SEA) and the Agricultural Bank maintain branch offices in Padre las Casas. State-sponsored agricultural input stores and commodity marketing facilities are available both in Padre las Casas and Guayabal. The National Institute for Water Resources (INDHRI) and the Public Works Office both maintain representatives in Padre las Casas.
Padre las Casas has a modern 40-bed hospital staffed by eight doctors with dental facilities. Guayabal has a smaller health clinic with ten beds and two doctors.
Adult residents of Las Cuevas have had an average of two years of
education. Ninety-two per cent of surveyed household heads had six years or less of schooling; two per cent have had twelve or more years (Espinal, 1983:46). Bruce estimates that approximately 29 per cent of the population is illiterate (1984:7).

1. Food purchases
Mancebo found tha rurl huseholds in Las Cuevas spent 71 per cent of their weekly income on food, while urban households spend a smaller proportion, 59 per cent. The largest weekly food expenditure was for rice, representing 29 per cent of total food costs. Other expenditure proportions included beans, 15 per cent; beef, 12 per cent and chicken, 10 per cent. The remainder went to purchase (in order) bread, sugar, eggs, bananas, spaghetti, plantains, milk, cassava, goat and sardines. urban households in Las Cuevas tend to spend a greater proportion on protein-rich foods such as beef, chicken, beans, milk and eggs, while rural households purchase greater amounts of starchy foods like rice, plantains, bananas and bread (I'ancebo,1984:52).
2. Malnutrition
in a 1982 suve of3Fas Cuevas children aged 6-59 months, Bruce found that 71 per cent suffered from some degree of malnutrition. Fifty-two per cent of the children had first degree malnutrition (least severe), 17 per cent were classed as second degree cases, and two per cent had third degree malnutrition (1984:12).


1. Distribution
Land distribution in Las Cuevas, as in the Dominican Republic as a whole, is highly unequal. Eighty per cent of Las Cuevas producers control 100 tareas or less, representing just 19 per cent of total agricultural landholdings (Table 4). Six per cent of Las Cuevas producers own more than 500 tareas, a combined total of 62 per cent of landholdings. Las Cuevas land distribution is roughly equivalent to the country-wide pattern: nationally, 86 per cent of all producers own less than 160 tareas, representing 21 per cent of total
agricultural land. Forty-five per cent of Las Cuevas landholdings are fragmented into two or more parcels of land, in some cases separated by long distances (Espinal,1983:47; SEA,1976, cited in A. Perez-Luna,1979:12; Nova,1984:100).
Size of # of % of % of
Landholding households households Landholdings land
(tareas) (tareas)
Less than 10 24 12.5 195 0.60
11-50 84 43.8 2,387 7.38
51-100 44 22.9 3,468 10.72
101-500 28 14.6 6,268 19.37
501+ 12 6.2 20,035 61.93
Total 192 100.0 32,353 100.00
2. Land use within farms
In a sample of 211 Las Cuevas farms, Montanez found that the majority of farm land was being used for pasture-fallow, forest, rainfed multiple annual and short-cycle crops, and coffee with shade trees (Table 5) Figure 11 shows the pattern of farm land use in 1970.
Land Use Class Per cent of area
Bare soil or rocky surface 0.08
Irrigated rotation of short-cycle crops 4.18
Rainfed rotation of short-cycle crops 3.14
Rainfed annual crops, mainly cassava 1.22
Rainfed multiple cropping of annual and shortcycle crops 13.84
Subtropical dry forest 11.25
Rainfed permanent crops, excluding coffee 1.81
Fallow of pasture, mainly yaragua 34.56
Rainfed permanent pasture 8.92
Coffee with shade trees 10.91
Open pine and/or moist forest 10.09
Total ii

Cl3 Temporary crops gggPermanent crops .
C~l Pasture and range =
li Forest
ag Fallow
l Area with data of questionable accuracy
Fig. 1.1. Farm Land Use in Las Cuevas (Montanez, 1983)

1. A ricultural labor
Agricultural field tasks are generally performed by the male head of the household and the older male children. Just ten per cent of Las Cuevas
producers use hired agricultural labor. Those who do pay a wage of approximately DR$3.00/day including meals, and DR$3.50/day without meals. Instead of hiring labor, many farmers use the "convite" system of mutual labor exchange to accomplish large tasks like land preparation and harvesting. The inviting farmer furnishes the noon meal for a group of men who work on his farm for one or several days. He in turn will then be available to work in the others' fields at some later date. No cash is exchanged (Vinas, 1982:15).
2. Women's roles
Women frequently participate in planting, harvesting and post-harvest processing activities. In addition, Dominican women, assisted by the children, are responsible for food preparation, fuel and water collection, laundry and care of the house. Some women supplement the family's income by selling agricultural produce or sundries at local markets or by selling prepared food from streetside stands.
The State Secretariat of Agriculture (SEA) maintains a branch office in Padre las Casas staffed by six agricultural extension agents and two conservation agents from SEA's Land and Water Department. The agents
generally work with key farmers/community leaders, who in turn diffuse new technology to groups of other farmers. Lack of roads, and the lack of funds to purchase vehicles, fuel, and mules for transportation severely limit extensionists' ability to make regular visits to farmers in the area (Vinas,1982:16).
1. Availabili
Lai Cuevas farmers usualy obtain seeds from other farmers or middlemen, or they may save their own seed from harvest. A few farmers purchase seeds from SEA, but many complain that they are old or in poor condition, and therefore have a low germination rate. Bean seeds are frequently exchanged between different regions of Las Cuevas. For example, farmers who harvest beans in July-August may provide seed to those planting in September, with the agreement that when those farmers finish their harvest in December they will return 1.5 quintals of seed for every quintal borrowed (Vinas,1982:17).
About eight per cent of farmers have oxen teams for land preparation. An additional four per cent lost their oxen in the 1979 hurricanes. Many farmer associations own oxen teams in common for member use (Vinas,1982:18).
2. Adoption of technology
Figure 12 depicts the pattern of technology adoption in Las Cuevas watershed. Fertilizer and insecticide use is most common in the lowland rice-producing area near Padre Las Casas and in the vegetable-producing region surrounding Sabana de San Juan (Ryder,1985).

..... .--. .. -----------. .- -- .- -- -s~aa~a~ anaa~a~~s..................
S a -. . . .. . . ..S... ...... .Level I No cropping
Level 11 Cropping Complete absence of technology
~' Level III Some Initiative-Use of fertilizer
XXXXXXX Level IV Most Initiative-Use of fertilizer and insecticide
Fig .12. Adoption of Technology in Las Cuevas (Ryder: 1985).

1. General
Cash sales of agricultural products represent 86.3 per cent of total farm income in Las Cuevas, (where farm income net contribution of cash sales to income + net contribution to income from production for self-consumption + net contribution to income of agricultural production used to purchase inputs) indicating the importance of marketing activities to farm households in the region. Coffee is the most important cash crop in Las Cuevas, generating 70 per cent of the total income from all cash crops. Bananas are second, with 15.4 per cent, while rice and potatoes generate six and four per cent of total cash crop income, respectively (Espinal,1983:58; Nova,1984:101-2).
Vinas estimates that over 80 per cent of farmers in the region market their production through INESPRE, cooperatives, wholesalers and rural assemblers. Twelve per cent of the farmers sold their produce to INESPRE, but many complain of delays in receiving payment after the commodity is delivered. About four per cent of the farmers used the Integrated Rural Service Center (CENSERI) in Guayabal (see below). The majority of farmers sell their produce to middlemen; many intermediaries advance cash to farmers during the growing season in exchange for the right to buy the producer's crop at harvest time (Vinas,1982:20).
2. Integrated Rural Services Center (CENSERI)
A SEA study identified the following problems in agricultural marketing in the Guayabal area: (1) products are often sold at low prices prior to
harvest in order to obtain cash; (2) a substantial amount of production credit is obtained from traders at high interest rates; in addition, farmers may then be obligated to sell their produce to a particular trader; (3) there are no standardized measures, e.g. traders frequently obtain 120 lbs of commodity at the price established for 100 lbs (SEA,1979, cited in Nunez,1983:32).
The Integrated Rural Services Center (CENSERI) program was initiated nation-wide in 1978 to improve the marketing capabilities of small farmers. CENSERIs have been constructed at various sites throughout the country, including one in Guayabal. The centers are intended to provide food retailing, input supply and commodity marketing services, and are administered by farmer organizations with the help of a paid government adviser. Each center has three buildings: a warehouse, a small retail store and an agricultural input sales outlet (Nunez,1983)
The Guayabal CENSERI serves 430 farmer members organized into fourteen associations in the Las Cuevas region. Producers from up to 20 kilometers away transport coffee, beans and pigeon peas from their farms to the center on center-owned mules or using their own transportation. At the CENSERI, the products are cleaned, sorted, packed, weighed and stored. The CENSERI now owns a truck, purchased with a loan from the Agricultural Bank, and commodities can be transported for sale in Azua and Santo Domingo. Farmers do not reimburse the CENSERI for the use of the mule, but they do pay a nominal fee for warehouse and truck use (Nunez,1983:38-40).
After three years of operation, the volume of business at the Guayabal CENSERI is only about ten per cent of the projected level. An evaluation of CENSERIs nationwide in 1980 revealed similar problems. The report concluded

that operation knowledge was lacking, marketing channels had not been well established and product handling was poor. Discussions with members and leaders of farmer associations indicate that many farmers are not using the Guayabal CENSERI because (1) it is not perceived as a viable, well-run enterprise; (2) the CENSERI does not supply credit and farmers must turn to traders in order to buy food; and (3) it is felt that involvement with the CENSERI requires too much work for the benefits involved (Nunez,1983:4,65).
In terms of marketing efficiency, Nunez found that, when equal volumes
were handled, the rural trader was more efficient than the CENSERI when social costs were included. The trader's per unit cost was DR$1.53, and the CENSERI cost was DR$1.72. When social costs were excluded, the CENSERI was more efficient. Farmers tended to obtain more favorable marketing margins when they sold red beans through the CENSERI (the price of red beans is subsidized by INESPRE), but received better margins from traders for pigeon peas and petit-pois (Nunez,1983:80,85).
The majority of agricultural credit is supplied by intermediaries, as described in section F. The Agricultural Bank supplies a limited amount of credit for coffee, pigeon peas, rice, beans and livestock at interest rates of nine per cent annually for loan amounts under RD$2000, and 11 per cent for amounts over RD$2000. Farmers have complained in the past that the Agricultural Bank would not grant them new loans because they had outstanding debts, in part a result of crop failures after the 1979 hurricanes. In 1983, however, the Agricultural Bank cancelled all outstanding debts under RD$2000 which were contracted prior to 1980 (Vinas,1982:18; personal communication, F.Duran,1986).
Agricultural credit is also available from private firms for certain crops. Petit-pois production, financed by the Barcelo company, is becoming increasingly popular among Las Cuevas farmers. La Manicera provides credit for peanut production (Vinas,1982:18; personal communication, F.Duran,1986).


Thirteen principal crops are grown in Las Cuevas. Red beans, rice and coffee are the most important crops in terms of total production. Table 6 shows the estimated total output by crop:
Crop Total Output (quintals)
Rice 1,331.00
Red Beans 2,228.63
Corn 285.86
Plantain 452.00 (units)
Cassava 222.90
Pigeon Pea 412.82
Tobacco 16.50
Coffee 1,318.01
Peanuts 284.90
Banana 16,188.00 (units)
Pepper 200.00
Cabbage 270.00
Potatoes 1,485.00
Espinal found that small farms under 100 tareas produce mostly food crops and tend to be heavily lar inteniVe. Qidium-sized farms, between 101-500 tareas, are more capital intensive, using more fertilizer and pesticides, and concentrate on rice and coffee.) Larqer farms devote the majority of their land to pasture and coffee, and use fewer capital-intensive inputs (1983:60).
Nine farming systems have been identified in the Las Cuevas watershed:
(1) irrigated rotation of short cycle crops; (2) rainfed rotation of short-cycle crops; (3) rainfed annual crops; (4) rainfed multiple cropping;
(5) rainfed permanent crops, excluding coffee; (6) coffee associated with guama or plantain; (7) pasture; (8) woodland, and (9) livestock (Antonini et al., 1985:47-50; Vinas,1982:2).

1. Irrigated rotation of short-cycle crops (beans, rice, peanuts )
This system is found mainly on the floodplain downstream from Padre las Casas, on isolated terraces along the Las Cuevas River and its tributaries, and in the reclaimed swamp area of Sabana de San Juan to the southeast, where vegetable production is important. These fields usually have low slope gradients and are cultivated continuously every year with two or more crops (Antonini et al.,1985:47).
a. Beans
Land preparation: Marc', August or December; with oxen or mules Varieties: Only red beans are planted in Las Cuevas; the most
popular variety is Pompadour Planting: April, September or January; seed drill with mules; 10-12
lbs. seed/tarea
Fertilizer: Farmers usually apply urea or 15-15-15 at 10-35
lbs./tarea, one month after planting Weeding: Machete; one month after planting while applying
Pests: Ur2myles phaseoli (bean rust)and insecto de la vaina de
frijol; Farmers usually make one application of pesticide, often mixed with liquid nitrogen fertilizer
Harvest: July, December or March; yields 100-200 lbs./tarea. Most
farmers harvest by convite, a system of mutual labor exchange. A farmer provides the noon meal for a group of men who harvest (or weed, or prepare land); the farmer in turn will be available to work in the others' fields. The beans are allowed to dry in the field, then the dried pl are Dulled up and collected on a
canvas. Mules are driven over the plants or men thresh the vines with sticks to remove the grains. The beans are then cleaned and sacked. Marketing: Most production .is sold to a middleman at the farm gate.
Gross revenue: Estimated at DR$50-95/tarea
(Montanez,1985:79; Nova,1984:105-6; Vinas,1982)
b. Rice
Land preparation: Fierary-early March. Fields are plowed with oxen or mules, then the land is flooded for several days so that the soil will be easier to work with. The land is then divided into small plots measuring about 150 square meters which are separated by hand-built dikes. Each small plot is then leveled for irrigation. Planting: March-April. Seeds are broadcast first into a small
seedbed; 100 lbs of seed produces enough seedlings to plant ten tareas. Seedlings are transplanted to the field after 45 days (April-May). Irriation: Estimated cost: DR$5 to irrigate 20 tareas
Fertilizer: Two applications of urea-based fertilizer, the first
within a month after transplanting, the second 25 days later. 20 lbs/tarea per application Weeding: Machete

Pests: (1) The virus Piricularia Oryzae (blast of rice) is the
most serious rice pest. Symptoms include the appearance of leaf spots which are initially light green, then grow in size and change to brown with a gray spot in the center. Affects grain formation. (2) The fungus Helminthosporium oryzae (brown spot of rice). Symptoms are dark brown or black spots on leaves.
Harvest: August-September; yields 200-500 lbs/tarea
Marketing: Production is sold to local millers.
Gross revenue: Estimated at DR$44-150/tarea
(Montanez,1985:77; Vinas,1982:13-14; Nova,1984:106-7)
c. Peanuts
Peanuts are usually rotated with rice, corn or beans. Land preparation: March or August; with oxen or mules Planting: April or September; seed drill with mule; 10 lbs
Fertilizer: No applications reported
Weeding: Machete; one month after planting
Pesticide: Most farmers make one application of insecticide
Harvest: July or November; yields 75-200 lbs/tarea
Market: All peanut production is financed and purchased by the
private peanut oil processing firm "La Manicera." Farmers are paid DR$20/quintal, after deducting production advances; most feel that peanut production is not profitable, but plT Eas a means of obtaining cash to-susistence.
d. Corn
Corn is usually rotated with beans or peanuts.
Land preparation: March or August; with oxen or mules Planting: April or September; seed drill with mule; 3 lbs
Varieties: Frances Largo, Cenia 2 most popular
Fertilizer: No use reported
Weeding: Machete; one month after planting
Pests: Spodoptera frugiperda (fall armyworm); a small number of
farmers apply Danex and Azodrin Harvest: August or January; yields 50-310 lbs/tarea
Market: Home consumption; livestock feed; sold to middlemen at
farm gate. Price: DR$10/quintal (Nova,1984:108; Vinas,1982:8)

2. Rainfed rotation of short-cycle crops
This cropping system is concentrated mainly on the older high terracesalong Arroyo Savila and Arroyo Las Yayas, and in areas of rolling land north of Sabana de San Juan and the town of Las Cuevas. Typical rotations include beans-peanuts, beans-corn, beans-pigeon peas and peanuts-peanuts (Antonini et al., 1985:47).
a. Beans
Land preparation: MariEor August; with oxen, or in uplands the only preparation may consist of clearing weeds and bushes with a machete.
Planting: April or September; by hand, making small holes every 25
cms with a machete and dropping 2-3 grains/hole, 60-70 an between rows; 10 lbs seed/tarea. Some of the farmers who harvest beans in July-August provide seed to those planting in September, with the agreement that when those farmers finish their harvest in December they will return 1.5 qq of seed for every quintal borrowed. Both farmers benefit: each has access to fresh seeds at planting time, and neither needs cash to obtain the seeds. Fertilizer: Rarely used
Weeding: Machete; one month after planting
Pests: Pesticides rarely used.
Harvest: July-August or December-January; yields 23-100
quintals/tarea; convite
Marketing: Sold to middlemen at farm qate
(Vinas,1982; Nova,1984:109)
b. Corn
Land preparation: MEar-i or August; with oxen or cleared with machete Planting: April or September; by hand, making a machete hole every
40 cm, 2-3 grains/hole
Fertilizer: Rarely used
Weeding: Machete; 30-45 days after planting
Pests: Pesticides rarely used
Harvest: August-September or January-February, when plants and
ears are completely dry; yields 50-163 lbs/tarea (Nova,1984:110)
c. Pigeon Peas
All pigeon pea production takes place on rainfed lands located in rolling and steep uplands. Pigeon peas are a low-risk crop because they are relatively resistant to dry conditions. Farmers like this crop because the pigeon pea harvest coincides with the drier months when no other grains are available.
Land preparation: March; cleared with machete Planting: April; by hand, making machete holes 1 meter apart, 2-3
grains/hole; 2 lbs seed/tarea Varieties: San Cristobal, Kaki are most common
Fertilizer: Not used
feeding: Machete; 30-45 days after planting, may weed twice during
a season
Pests: Pesticide not used

Harvest: Starts in December and continues for 2-3 months; yields
50-150 lbs/tarea; Kaki cycle is shorter, harvest may start in September-October with yields of 3 quintals/tarea
Marketing: Home consumption; part sold to middleman at farm gate or
transported on mules to nearest market. Prices: DR$16-$25/quintal
Gross revenue: DR$8-22.50/tarea
(Nova,1984:111; Vinas,1982:7; Montanez,1985:80)
d. Peanuts
Land preparation: March or August; with oxen or cleared with machete Planting: April or September; seed drill with mule, or by hand with
machete; 11 lbs seed/tarea Weeding: By hand with machete; one month after planting
Harvest: July or December; yields 33-86 lbs/tarea
Marketing: All production is financed and purchased by "La Manicera"

pigeon peas) 3. Rainfed annual crops (cassava, often intercropped with pigeon peas)
Small of cassava, usually under one tarea, are found throughout the
watershed on steep o yerysteep slopes. Land preparation: MardT fAust; fields cleared with machete and burned off
Planting: Cassava stems are planted in March or August
Fertilizer: Not used
Pests: Erinnyis ello (cassava hornworm), attacks cassava first,
then pigeon pea, causing defoliation. Pesticides not used.
Harvest: Depending on variety, may harvest more than one year
after planting; roots pulled up by hand; yields 9-10 quintals/tarea.
Marketing: Produced almost exclusively for home consumption

4. Rainfed multiple cropping of annual and short-cycle crops
This is the most ensive croopxn system in Las Cuevas and is found throughout the watershed on rolling, steep and very steep lands. Typical associations include beans-corn, beans-pigeon peas, and beans-pigeon peas-corn. Since some activities, e.g. land preparation and weeding, are common to all crops, this is a cost and labor-saving system. Food can be harvested two or more different times during the year, e.g. beans in July, corn in September, and pigeon peas in December (Montanez,1985:80-81; Nova,1984:112).
a. Beans-corn
This association is grown mainly in the uplands and in some lowlands. Land preparation: March or August; with oxen or cleared with machete Planting: March or September; 2-3 lbs corn, 7-10 lbs beans per
tarea. Corn is spaced 0.9-1.0 meters between plants; beans are planted around the corn, 0.25 meters between plants. Both are planted by hand using a machete, using 2-3 grains per hole.
Weeding: Machete, one month after planting
Harvest: Beans are harvested 3 months after planting; corn is
harvested 30 days after beans. Yields: 40-90 lbs beans/tarea; 30-80 lbs corn/tarea; convite Marketing: Sold to middlemen at farmgate
b. Beans-pigeon peas
This association is grown mostly in the uplands.
Land preparation: March; usually cleared with machete, sometimes oxen are
Planting: April; by hand with machete, 2-3 grains per hold. Pigeon
pea spacing is 1 meter x 1 meter; beans are planted between pigeon peas, 20-30 cm apart. 1-2 lbs pigeon peas, 7-9 lbs beans/tarea
Weeding: Machete, one month after planting
Harvest: Beans are harvested in July; pigeon peas are harvested
November through March; yields 25-100 lbs beans, 20-85 lbs pigeon peas/tarea; convite
Marketing: Sold to middlemen at farmgate
c. Beans-pigeon peas-corn
This association is grown mostly in the uplands. It is popular among subsistence farmers because if one crop fails there will still be some production from the others for home consumption. Land preparation: March; with oxen or cleared with machete Planting: April; by hand with machete, using 6-9 lbs beans, 1.5-2
lbs pigeon peas, 2-3 lbs corn/tarea Weeding: Continuously by family
Harvest: Beans are harvested in July, corn in August-September,
pigeon peas in November-December. Yields 15-52 lbs beans, 27-50 lbs corn, 33-60 lbs pigeon peas/tarea Marketing: Produced mainly for home consumption

5. Rainfed permanent crops, excluding coffee
The most important crop in this system is plantain, which is planted in relatively small fields in the extreme southcentral part of the watershed, and between Monte Bonito and Guayabal. Plantains are usually planted in field sites with low slopes, good water retention and/or greater soil depth. This is exactly the reverse of the usual conservation recommendations, which suggest planting permanent crops on steep slopes and short-cycle crops on lower slopes. Plantains continue to produce for about three years; fruits are produced for home consumption or exchanged within the community (Montanez,1985:81; Antonini et al.,1985:1985:49).

6. Coffee associated with guama trees and/or plantain
A shaded coffee plantation is similar to a natural forest in terms of the degree of soil protection offered. The main coffee-producing areas are found on low to very steep slopes above 800 meters elevation, e.g. Monte Bonito, Arroyo la Savila, Arroyo Corozo and Miguel Martin (Montanez,1985:81).
Planting: Most coffee plantations in Las Cuevas are are least 30
years old. When new trees are planted, seedlings are usually obtained from government or private nurseries. Banana and plantain trees are used as temporary shade and the fruits are consumed. The guama tree provides permanent shade.
Varieties: Bourbon, Caturra
Fertilizer: Rarely used
Weeding and
Pruning: Weeding is done in July-August, sometimes also in
March-April with a machete. Large farms hire labor for weeding. Few farmers prune. Harvest: November-January; berries ripen at different times. Large
farms hire labor for harvest. Yields 10-75 lbs/tarea, average 26 lbs. Coffee pulp is removed with a hand cranked or power extractor; beans are then spread to dry on a concrete terrace.
Marketing and
Financing: Coffee financing and marketing are dominated by one person
in the -region, one of the major coffee exporters in the Dominican Republic. Most producers obtain financing from this exporter at interest rates of 2-5 per cent monthly, depending on the longevity of the relationship. The producer then sells his entire crop to the exporter, who finishes processing the coffee beans. Prices vary
from DR$80-118/quintal, depending on the quality. A limited amount of credit is available through the Agriculture Bank.
(Nova,1984:115; Alba,1982:3-8)

7. Pasture
This system includes improved and native pastures in addition to fallow land. Leaving land fallow for two or more years following cultivation is a local strategy to recover soil productivity. Pasture is found mainly in the north central portion of the watershed from the Las Cuevas River to the drainage divide at Los Reynados and Valle Nuevo. The most common pasture grasses are yaragua, guinea grass (Panicum maximum) and African star grass (Cinodon nienfluensis) (Antonini et al. ,1985:50; Vinas,1982:12).
8. Woodland
The woodland system includes dry and moist subtropical forest as well as stands of open pine. Dry forest covers 20-100 per cent of some farms situated on low hills and high terraces between Villa Ocoa and Los Higos, in the western area of the watershed. Woodlands cover eighty to one hundred per cent of the land in farms located in the extreme eastern portion of the watershed, e.g. in Los Paradores, Las Espinas and El Rosal (Antonini et al.,1985:50).
9. Livestock
There is considerable potential for animal production in Las Cuevas, but relatively few farmers own livestock because of the capital investment required. Mules, horses, burros, oxen, cattle, goats and chickens are the predominant types of animals.
Most cattle are native (criollo) or mixed Bos indicus raised for
slaughter, IiFthere are some milk-producing Holstein-native crosses. The Agriculture Bank sometimes offers credit for the purchase of cattle and has encouraged farmers to invest in cebu crosses like Brahman. Apparently the Brahmans are not well accepted among the farmers because they are considered difficult to handle and do not work well on slopes. In general, producers are not very knowledgeable about cattle diseases and pests, but some mention a problem of diarrhea with blood, which is a symptom of intestinal parasites (Vinas,1982:10-11).
Native breeds of oats are very common in the watershed. They are
well-adapted to the slopes and require very little investement. The goats are generally not confined and graze freely. Producers have noted gastrointestinal parasite problems in their goats. Goats and cattle are generally sold on the hoof to nearby butchers, or to truckers who transport the livestock to Santo Domingo markets (Vinas,1982:12,20).
Pi s layed a ve i rtant rt in the Dominican rural econo until 1979 en swine atn d obe c lete esr cause of an
1979, an
infestation of African Swine Fever. Repopulation programs are currently underway (Vinas,1982:12)

1. Farmer-identified constraints
Farmers interviewed by Montanez (1985) most often cited rapid runoff
during hard rains, an overall shortage of rain or water in the area, and low soil fertiliy as their main agriculture-related problems.
2. Constraints identified by researchers
Vinas (1982) identified the following problems related to farming systems in Las Cuevas:
(a) The dry season from April-July comes at a critical time in plant growth, causing reductions in yields.
(b) Excess rains in September-October contribute to soil erosion.
(c) Technical assistance is unavailable to many farmers in the area, thus they are unaware of agricultural technology.
(d) Credit is restricted to certain crops like coffee and pigeon peas. Credit from public agencies often arrives late, forcing families to delay planting.
(e) Steep slopes are difficult to work and erode easily.
(f) The shortage of oxen teams to prepare land often delays planting.
(g) Lack of price information makes farmers vulnerable to intermediaries.
(h) General lack of infrastructure such as roads and
warehouses affects marketing.
(i) Inadequate farmer management of parcels:
(1) Many farmers ignore even the agricultural technology which is within their reach.
(2) Bad land preparation. Because of the lack of oxen, some farmers clear fields only with a machete.
(3) Incorrect storage of seeds and use of damaged seeds
(4) Farmers waste irrigation water because they pay a flat fee for annual water use.

1. Farmer perception of conservation problems
Only ten per cent of farmers interviewed by Montanez referred explicitly to soil erosion as one of their three major problems. However, 20 per cent mentioned problems such as tired plots and shallow soils which could be related to accelerated soil erosion (1985:96).
When asked specifically about the impact of soil erosion on their farms, ninety per cent said it was of little or no importance. Ten per cent said soil erosion was of moderate or great importance. The perception of soil erosion- as important tended to increase among farmers with low net revenue per unit of farm land, or whose farms had gullies, shallow soils or steep slopes (Montanez,1985:97).
2. State-sponsored conservation activities
The Land and Water Department of SEA has tried to implement a program of terrace construction in some parts of Las Cuevas. While a small number of farmers have accepted this approach, in most cases terrace maintenance has been a failure. After eight years of work in the region, only 52 of 2,000 farmers have accepted the construction of structures in some of their fields. In almost all cases, construction work has been done by technicians and workers of the Land and Water Department with little or no participation by farmers. The structures have generally not been maintained and some have been destroyed by farmers (Montanez,1985:40-41).

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