Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Figures
 List of Tables
 Dominican Republic - general...
 Las Cuevas watershed - general...

Group Title: Manual for participants : sondeo case study, Las Cuevas Watershed, Dominican Republic.
Title: Manu al for participants
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00082037/00001
 Material Information
Title: Manu al for participants sondeo case study, Las Cuevas Watershed, Dominican Republic
Alternate Title: Sondeo case study, Las Cuevas Watershed, Dominican Republic manual for participants
Physical Description: 46 leaves : maps ; 22 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Farming Systems Support Project
Publisher: Farming Systems Support Project (FSSP), University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville FL
Publication Date: 1986
Subject: Agriculture -- Research -- Dominican Republic   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Economic aspects -- Dominican Republic -- Las Cuevas River   ( lcsh )
Agriculture -- Social aspects -- Dominican Republic -- Las Cuevas River   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographic references (leaves 27-29)
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00082037
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 85774183

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
    Table of Contents
        Page 4
    List of Figures
        Page 5
    List of Tables
        Page 6
    Dominican Republic - general information
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 11a
        Page 11b
        Page 12
        Page 12a
        Page 12b
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 15a
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Las Cuevas watershed - general information
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 19a
        Page 19b
        Page 20
        Page 20a
        Page 20b
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 22a
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 26a
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
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



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 PARTICIPANTS; two additional manuals are
provided for informants and trainers. Two sets of slides and a wall-size map
accompany the written materials.




A. Glossary..................................... .. ..........8
B. 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.............................................. 20
D. Climatic Life Zones........................................20
E. Land........................................................21
F. Economic Characteristics..............................23
G. Infrastructure......................... ...... .......24
H. Education.............................................................24
I. Nutrition............................................... 25
J. Agricultural Land........................................26





Figure 1. Location of the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean...........11

Figure 2. Principal Physiographic Provinces of the Dominican Republic...11

Figure 3. Isohyets of the Dominican Republic ............................12

Figure 4. Provinces and Major Cities of the Dominican Republic..........12

Figure 5. Agriculture in the Dominican Republic......................... 15

Figure 6. Las Cuevas Watershed, Dominican Republic......................19

Figure 7. Location of Las Cuevas Watershed and the Azua Plain...........19

Figure 8. Life Zones in Las Cuevas ............................ ....... 20

Figure 9. Slope Classes in Las Cuevas...................................20

Figure 10. Land Quality, Las Cuevas .............................. ......22

Figure 11. Farm Land Use in Las Cuevas.................................26




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................. .... .................................26

Table 5. Land Use Within Las Cuevas Farms.................................26




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 capital (1983 dollars): 1,370
average annual growth rate, 1965-83 (%): 3.9

Growth of production:






annual growth


Structure of production:

1965 960
1983 8,530



of GDP,(%)
Mfg Services
14 53
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 capital (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
Industry Services
13 23
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 expectancy 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 capital :
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
1972: 18.5
Current revenue as percentage
1972: 17.9

1982: 14.1
of GNP:
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:ll; 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 Cibao-is
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.


Allanltc Octon

b _

Domlnlcon Republlc

Pacific Ocean

0 200 600Km.

Figure 1. Location of the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean (Montanez, 1985)

Gulf of MIxico

Caribboan Soa


Fig. 2. Principal Physiographic Provinces of the Dominican Republic. (Santiago Urena,


1. Temperature
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 350mm in the Neiba valley to 2750mm 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;

3. Soils
Soils in the Doiniican 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



Average rainfall in mm

Fig. 3. Isohyets of the Dominican Republic. (Santiago Urena, 1982)

0 30

0 Provincial c~pit~l

Distrito National
San Pedro
de Macoris
La Romana
La Altagracia
El Seibo

Mmria Trinidad
5&nchex Ramirez

Puerto Plata
San Juan
Santiago Rodriguez
San Rafael
Mon tecribti

Figure. (May and McLellan, 1973)



1. Language
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,

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 (May and MLlellan, 1973:195).

3. Religion
About 95 per cent of the population is Roman Catholic, while two per cent
is Protestant (May 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 commerce 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.(May
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
1924: U.S. military occupation.
1930: Political power is seized by General Leonidas Trujillo; a repressive
31-year dictatorship begins.
1961: Trujillo is assassinated.
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,

2. Level and distribution of income
In 1983, the per capital Gross National Product (GNP) was $1,370 (1983 US
dollars). By comparison, Haiti's per capital GNP was $300, Honduras' was $670,
Peru's was $1,040 and Ecuador's per capital 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,

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,

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
Zxoort croos: 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 cent -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




r Sheep

0 39 10 KM

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 (ONAPLAN,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 INDHRI and CDE over the management of the dam system for
agricultural versus electricity generation purposes (personal communication,

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. IAD 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 in the
marketing process, but promotes the export of Dominican products abroad. The
Price Stabilization Institute (INESPRE) regulates producer and consumer prices
for some food commodities, 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 beans is the 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 capital 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 capital 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).

4- + + Guayabal
I *1
",' 'y El Desecho

6I -**

Padre de las Casas -.

.- "DPalma Cana

Los Cuovas Walasnhed
Dominican Republic

Figure 6. Las Cuevas watershed, Dominican Republic.

:,:t*D Q, O: ; '-A '' ', C'): *
.. .......y. .....

'\4.::: ... .:.

''\.. MCdi kIngoiton Choranal

Sobona Yeguo Dom

Lot Cuavos Waltrshed


Azua Ploln

Fig. 7. Location of Las Cuevas Watershed and the Azua Plain.

(Espinal, 1983)

VAX &OW14e


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 rm 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 the
watershed. 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;

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;

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 mm; 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 (Montanez,1985:13; Ledesma,1983:6).

i 9
$ -t
j Lj~J(


-t- -t- t .c.
"r TPY (IP I ?=.
'..': .. -- r;
.: ?: .,
C/: i i'.;-~. '
.f1~5-~~ i :t.C .~ i:.. :1" ~.:
...., ..: .iS'.
Y:~. ~.~i .rr~Cirij~T~
,,c~~: r,.c''
r; ..s.. f
'i : ri!
:';'.""';1.--.::; I::::1~:'L~1
'.... i.
." C1~L...~ Ji~j~ -~- -. I_
'" "
"' r;l z..'.~n
:::I_ PoJI~ b~ --~ ::
FPIO) r, ..LU
\ L''
.....;;; ....~~
(""--=.Y". ?::
\.;... ... r :il~ I
:,~c~ .... i:
~.~~ ~t~ati~;: ...
4. ~~~g ..,. ''
'" ~B:i:
,I \e \ .i ..
:. \ti
~rlSt:.s ~t~~C :; '
\r.\i r:
LIFE ZDNES :-:::: '';"' ''
,..i I ..r~
'.1.1* '.:::: ~:I
~j Dr~ Subtropical j ..-
i~n:~ ~'~C~
1;3 UEt SubTroplcl \I" r'
I~il Lov Ll.nr.n. Vet 44
~j Very Wet tov ~loncant

o tO P3~1Y)

Fig. 8. Life zones in Las Cuevas. (Montanez, 1985)


FJ 0-3

M 16-30
S 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/100gm >90,<20 21-40 41-90
Effective cation exchange
capacity, topsoil meq/00qm <20 21-40 41+
Base saturation,topsoil meq/100gm >90,<30 31-4 46-90
Phosphorus, topsoil p.p.m. <15 1630 31+
Exchangeable magnesium,subsoil meq/100 >90,<20 21-40 41-90
Depth of surface erosion
channels: <1/3m(l);1/3-2m(4);
2-5m(7);>5m(10) 7,10 .4 1
Drainage very poorly drained(0);
-excessive drainage(6) 0,1,2,5,6 3,4
Stoniness of surface % of surface covered:
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(l)-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 cm.
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).

H Level I (worst)

Figure 10.

Land Quality, Las Cuevas (adapted from Antonini et al., 19

Level II



Level III




1. Income
Espinal found that household 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-fam 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
areas 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. Employment
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 that rural households 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 (Mancebo,1984:52).

2. Malnutrition
In a 1982 survey of 300 Las 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;

1981-82 (N-192)

Size of # of % of % of
Landholding households households Landholdings land
areasa) (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 short-
cycle 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 i100.0U


I-7I Temporary crops .
LU Permanent crops
lII Pasture and range
liii! Forest
i--1 Fallow
E Area with data of questionable accuracy

Fig. 11. Farm Land Use in Las Cuevas (Montanez, 1983)

... .... ... .




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