Agriculture Dept. grants $2M incentives to promote consumption of local harvests
The Puerto Rico Agriculture Department will distribute just over $2 million in incentives to low-income elderly citizens, and pregnant mothers and children who participate in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, to buy local fruits and vegetables.
The new incentive may be used in the Family Markets that Agriculture carries out in conjunction with the Family Department throughout the island. The funds will benefit 20,715 older adults and 49,991 pregnant women, infants, and children in Puerto Rico, the agencies stated.
“Today we begin to deliver the first incentives that seek to promote good nutrition and the consumption of products harvested on our island. This incentive will also be a boost for our farmers who continue to work on the land to give us the best products,” said Agriculture Secretary Ramón González.
In the effort to identify the participants, Agriculture has a collaboration agreement in place with the Elderly Ombudsman’s Office (OPEA, in Spanish) which, together with the municipalities, will identify and deliver the funds, González said.
Similarly, WIC will oversee delivering the incentive to its participants, who will receive $30 each, while eligible older adults will get $40 that can be redeemed in the Family Markets.
The first disbursement took place Tuesday at the Mario Quijote Morales Coliseum in Guaynabo, where a group of 300 older adults received the incentive.
The criteria to qualify for the funds granted to OPEA are: to be a resident of the participating municipality when the checks are delivered; be over 60 years of age; receive Nutritional Assistance Program (PAN, in Spanish) benefits or public health program benefits; and have low income.