HAVANA, Sep 2 (acn) The Dominican Republic could become a provider of chicken and eggs to Cuba and other Latin American nations after the country was given on Wednesday green light by the World Animal Health Organization by declaring it territory free of bird flu.
The action will allow Santo Domingo to compete at the world market and double its production of chicken and eggs for export, said Agriculture Minister Angel Estevez, as cited by PL news agency.
The country will keep monitoring its food security and that of those nations that import its products, said the minister and added that the Dominican Republic expects to take its poultry production to the highest levels.
The president of the Dominican Poultry Association, Bolivar Cartagena, said that his sector earns over 700 million dollars annually and with the certification by the world entity, such figures could grow by 20 percent.
Over the past few years, the Caribbean nation produced chicken and eggs only for the local market but at present such products could go to Cuba, Venezuela and El Salvador, said Lissett Gomez, Dominican representative at the World Animal Health Organization.
Cuba imports eggs and frozen chicken from other markets in order to guarantee the people´s basic food basket, which is highly subsidized for all Cubans.
The island is currently making efforts to increase local production of foodstuffs and with it to replace costly imports as part of the strategic update of its economic model.
However, food imports are a heavy burden to deal with, since each year the island allocates more money to guarantee the food supply of its people in order to complement the local production.