SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC — The Dominican Republic, which has one of the highest per capita wheat and wheat products consumption rates in Latin America, is forecast to consume 422,000 tonnes of wheat in 2019-20, up from 415,000 the previous year, according to an April 5 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Wheat imports to the Dominican Republic, which does not produce wheat, are expected to increase slightly to 535,000 tonnes, according to the USDA.

“The country is home to a large milling industry and imports almost all of its wheat from the United States and Canada,” the USDA said. “Currently, it boasts a daily milling capacity of around 3,320 tonnes, with a current average utilization of 60% to 65%, divided among six different processors.”

The USDA noted that demand for wheat flour has increased in recent years due to growth in the hotel, restaurant and industrial sector and tourism.

While most of the flour production is destined for the domestic market, the Dominican Republic also exports considerable quantities of wheat flour and other finished products to neighboring Haiti, the USDA said.

“Anecdotal reports from industry sources and comparative analysis of local consumption versus imports and mill throughput all indicate informal trade with Haiti of 40,000 to 45,000 tonnes per year in wheat and wheat products,” the USDA said.