Rice Harvest Time On The Northcoast Of The Dominican Republic

rice-300-1I like to ride the roads this time of the year.  Everywhere you look on the north coast you will see stacks of large sacks full of freshly harvested rice.  Rice is a big staple here in the Dominican Republic, and much of the country’s rice comes from the farms along the north coast.  At first glimpse you will suspect that you just stepped back in time compared to the large farming done in the United States and Canada.  Here it is typical to see mules and oxen with huge bags of rice strapped to their backs making their way from the fields to the roadside.  Once on the roadside, you will see strong workers manhandling the 120 pound bags of rice like you and I would handle 20 pound bags.  It is amazing to me that these farm workers handle these large bags from dusk to dawn, never appearing to tire.

While you may at first think the methods used to harvest rice in the Dominican Republic appear archaic and backwards, you may want to rethink that.  There is something very comforting to see just how self sufficient this country really is.  I doubt seriously that anyone will go hungry here, no matter how severe the worldwide financial collapse or how desperate things might get in some of the first world countries.  They are still growing many of the crops in exactly the same manner they have followed for 50 or 100 years.  If all the flow of gasoline or diesel stops tomorrow, you will still see the mules and oxen working the fields and hauling the harvest.  There is something comforting about that.

In this video, we take a quick drive down the highway to watch the workers bring in part of the rice crop.  This looks exactly how they were doing the harvest the first time I came down here almost 15 years ago, and I suspect nothing much has changed in the last 50 years.  And despite all these manual, labor intensive methods, there is always a surplus.


I like having an abundance of food and water without having to rely on technology and expensive infrastructure.  I sleep a little better and worry a little less about a financial collapse.  For now, it’s Barry in the DR.

Gary December 2, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Hi Barry,
I really enjoyed this little video. I gotta respect those fellows handling those heavy sacks of rice every day. I couldn’t do it. I’m a wimp in comparison. It’s really great to know where your food comes from. For the most part if your fruits and vegetables, meat and fish come from the local area then you can be sure that it’s the real thing and not some GMO crap. Even here in Southern California you really can’t trust 100% the organic labeled products or the so-called cage free chicken. You just don’t know. It comes from such a long distance that it could really be anything. You’re absolutely right about sustainability. If there’s a Coronal Mass Ejection where all of the world’s electricity is out of action for a considerable period of time, it looks like you’ll be alright in Cabrera. Sure there will be inconveniences but I think you’ll survive fine. The rice will still get harvested and if needed loaded onto donkeys. One question I have. Is all the rice white and refined or can you get whole grain rice locally.

Take care,

Magaly Guerrero August 1, 2015 at 6:59 pm

This article has put a huge smile on my face–it brought home to me today. Thank you!

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