Tropical storm leaves behind a destroyed banana crop in the Dominican Republic

The tropical storm "Erika" which swept across the Caribbean at the end of August destroyed about 40% of the Dominican banana crop. The banana trees, shallow-rooted by nature, and heavily-laden with fruit, hardly had a chance against the strong winds. The Dominican Republic is regarded as the largest exporter in the world of organic bananas.

The Milagros agricultural engineers on site, Aquilino Cruz and Volker Schmidt, assessed the damage in order to submit a damage report to the local agricultural ministry. The Milagros co-operative established by BioTropic will have to replace the uprooted banana trees and replant new banana trees and it hopes that the bananas being cultivated will not suffer any more serious bad weather.

All things considered, the Dominican Republic got off fairly lightly. Before reaching the Dominican Republic, the tropical storm "Erika" caused serious damage and fatalities in the neighbouring island of Dominica.

In spite of the storm, the general and prevailing aridity continues to be a problem in the Dominican Republic, as we have already reported previously. The persistent dry spell has resulted in crop failures and speculation that this will drive up the price of some foodstuffs. "We are desperate for some rain, but we can do without a storm of course", says Volker Schmidt. Hardly anywhere seems to be spared the effects of climate change, but the extreme consequences for people occur with greatest effect where several results of climate change combine. Water shortages, increases in the price of the cost of food, impact on health – these are additional burdens which climatic change can bring with it.

The official "Atlantic Hurricane season" prevails between 1 June and 30 November. Most hurricanes form within this period, since it is at this time of year at which the conditions are conducive for the formation of tropical cyclones.

The tropical storm "Grace" has been making its way from the coast of West Africa at a wind speed of 65 km/h towards the Caribbean islands. However, a drastic increase in the intensity of the storm is not expected according to current weather forecasts.

Text: Visnja Malesic
Pictures: BioTropic GmbH
Graphic: Weather Underground

Tags: Aquilino Cruz (GB), Bananas (GB), Dominican Republic (GB), Milagros (GB), Volker Schmidt (GB)

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