Central Romana Agriculture
Central Romana has made significant contributions in the field of agriculture. After decades of relying on imported products from Puerto Rico and Barbados, Central Romana created its own Department of Agricultural Research in 1947. Since then, this department has been instrumental in developing new sugarcane varieties, including cane that is adaptable to harsh soil and resistant to both pests and drought.
Central Romana has developed more than 15 new sugarcane varieties for commercial use. Each variety takes 12-15 years to develop, from seeding experiments and field observations to patenting. Today, 95% of the area used for sugarcane is planted with varieties that have been patented by Central Romana, leading to an increased yield in production.
More than 166,000 acres of the company’s fields are planted with sugarcane varieties that were developed within Central Romana’s Department of Agricultural Research. Over time, the company has used 130 varieties of sugarcane from different countries to develop more than 15 new commercial varieties. Each new variety is perfected over 12-15 years in Central Romana’s pilot mill. The company proudly owns a collection of 2,600 different parent rods which are used to develop new sugarcane varieties. This progress contributes to the success of private farmers within Central Romana, and it enhances the cane production of sugar mills throughout the country that use Central Romana-developed cane varieties in their fields.
Sugar Cane Cutting and Haulout.
In 1990, Central Romana embarked on a mission to mechanize their methods of cutting and hauling sugarcane. This includes using machinery to prepare the land and plant the sugarcane, as well as to cut, haul, and transport the sugarcane to the mill. To date, 50% of the company’s process has been automated, eliminating the need for foreign labor. Central Romana’s goal is to apply the automated process on up to 75% of the cane fields. The remaining 25% cannot be automated due to the ruggedness of the terrain. The company has already successfully automated the process of fertilization, using aircrafts to fertilize the cane fields.
Central Romana uses a fleet of 250 tractors with rubber wheels for harvesting and loading cane, 35 crawler tractors for land preparation, 20 power graders for the preparation of roads and access routes, and 47 combined units for cutting, which will increase as mechanization expands. Finally, the company has approximately 1,800 ox-drawn carts to haul the cane that is still cut by hand and transport it to the railway stations that are strategically located in all fields.
Since the beginning of its operations, Central Romana has used railroads to transport sugarcane from the fields to the mill. The railway network consists of 354 kilometers of standard-width railway, including 140 kilometers of mainline and 214 kilometers of branch lines and loading stations. This system allows the company to transport up to 22,000 tons of freshly cut cane daily. The speed and efficiency of the process contribute to Central Romana’s high yield.
Central Romana employs 17 locomotives, each weighing 20 tons, and 900 wagons for cane. Together they move approximately 4,000,000 tons of sugarcane during the 225 days of an average sugar harvest.
In addition to being efficient, railway transportation reduces production costs. In the past, railroad ties in the area were made of wood, requiring constant replacement. Many years ago, Central Romana decided to make the ties out of precast concrete. This new technique produced long-term gains for both the company and for the surrounding country, as it has contributed to forest preservation.
Central Romana produces more than 400,000 tons of sugarcane a year. The company uses two teams, each of which has seven mills with a capacity of 11,000 tons. This allows for more than 20,000 tons of grinding every day. Central Romana accounts for roughly 70% of the total sugar production in the country, making it the largest sugar producer in the Dominican Republic.
Not only is the mill the largest producer and exporter of raw sugar in the Dominican Republic, but it is also the largest supplier of refined sugar in the domestic market. Central Romana began its refining operations in 1970 and has since expanded to refining an average of 1,000 tons of sugar every 24 hours. Central Romana is proud to provide a reliable supply of sugar at a stable price to Dominican consumers and industrial users.
Livestock is another activity for which Central Romana has been recognized, contributing significantly to the country. The company’s first livestock operations date back to early 1900’s when they started planting sugarcane. Since its beginnings, the main focus has been the production of quality oxen for loading and transporting cane.
Central Romana was a pioneer in the use of artificial insemination methods in the country, through which they developed the mixture of races where the Red Roman stands out, livestock owned only by the company, of unparalleled strength to work. Besides being a good meat producer, it has the perfect structure for agricultural work, with thin legs, which allows them to penetrate in different lands and not get stuck in muddy areas. They also have great strength in their horns that allows them to resist the cane haulout.
Due to the development of the tourism sector and the increasing demand for good quality food, Central Romana decided to enter the meat production industry to supply the country’s hotels, for this reason it has its own cattle slaughterhouse porcine raising and the production of dairy buffaloes, for which it currently has 60 heads, popular for its performance and because their milk is used to manufacture mozzarella cheese.
They have also promoted the development of Romanero horse, characterized by their high performance and widespread use in agricultural tasks of which it has 3,000 equines. Today the company has more than 55,000 head of cattle of excellent quality. Due to this great production, Central Romana has become the main supplier of beef in the domestic market, thus contributing significantly to the protein intake of the Dominican people.