PRIDCO seeks RFPs to run sugarcane harvest project

Written by  //  May 7, 2014  //  Agriculture  //  No comments

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Gov. García-Padilla, right, greets farmers during his visit to Aguada to announce the start of a sugarcane harvesting project.

Gov. García-Padilla, right, greets farmers during his visit to Aguada in January to announce the start of a sugarcane harvesting project.

The Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company is seeking an operator for the second and third phases of the recently launched sugarcane harvesting project, opening a call for Request for Proposals on Tuesday.

To qualify for the project that seeks to develop about 20,000 acres of farmland into sugarcane fields, applicants must be currently operating a business.

PRIDCO will be investing up to $9.5 million during the first phase of the project through its Rums of Puerto Rico program, to buy seeds, prepare lands, buy equipment and install irrigation systems. For the second and third phases, the agency will select an operator who will be responsible for managing the field and plant operations, the agency said in the RFP document posted on its website.

“We’re pleased to announce that the project to revive sugarcane processing to strengthen Puerto Rico’s rum industry is progressing steadily,” said PRIDCO Executive Director Antonio Comas. “The RFP that will help us objectively select the project’s future operator is already available.”

The project through which the government seeks to generate raw goods for the island’s rum industry, namely molasses, was announced in January, when Gov. Alejandro García-Padilla said available lands along the island’s southern and southwestern flanks would be harvested.

The plant to process sugarcane should be built by 2016, generating up to 1,000 direct and 3,000 indirect jobs spread across 10 towns, he said.

Interested proponents have until June 9 to submit their applications, PRIDCO officials said.

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