Dominican Republic eyes regional specialty mango leadership
Dominican Republic's Mango Cluster president Rafael Leger said the country's industry shipped around 50 containers of mangoes in 2003-04, but last year volumes hit 350 containers, or 7,000 metric tons (MT).
"Year after year our exports are rising," Leger was quoted as saying.
He said the objective was to continue planting and raising exports, and would reach much higher shipment levels due to new plantations and new sources of demand globally, the story reported.
Despite the claims of ambitions for regional leadership, he said the country "naturally" could not compare to the likes of Mexico, Peru and Brazil at the moment.
However, the Dominican Republic has "an open window for export".
The goal is for the Caribbean country to become the biggest shipper of ethnic, organic and gourmet mangos to the U.S. and European markets.
Leger pointed to a variety of initiatives in place to support the industry's exports, with a marketing campaign that starts with national tourist centers and extends to destination cities.
From a technical perspective, the cluster's plan aims to improve fruit quality by utilizing the appropriate technology and professional management techniques, as well as through more efficient packing and transport.
The Dominican Republic has around 4,000ha dedicated to a wide variety of mangoes, including native mangoes such as banilejo, yamaguí, puntita, pechito and amarillo, as well as introduced varieties like keitt, kent, palmer and haden.
Leger highlighted there was growing demand for lesser known mango varieties internationally.
The country's main plantations are found in the province of Peravia, as well as La Altagracia, Hato Mayor, La Romana and in the northeast.
The Dominican Republic's mango harvest runs from March to August.