Barrranquitas farmers to sell yam production to Econo, Wal-mart
Agriculture Department officials stepped in to help farmers in Barranquitas market their yam harvests, after one of the agronomists went public on social media about the possible loss of a large starchy root vegetable crop he was unable to sell.
Agriculture Secretary Ramón González met with farmers in the mountainous town, connecting them with retailers Econo Supermarket and Wal-mart, which agreed to buy the first 3,000 boxes of yams through Feb. 18.
“I have been working with this since November of last year when the big yam production started, when we began in the municipality of Las Piedras and continued in San Sebastián and Aguada,” said González.
“As soon as I learned about the situation in Barranquitas, I contacted farmer Jesús Santos and agreed with him to call a meeting among farmers in the area to help market the product,” said González, adding that Agriculture has achieved the collaboration of the large chains in increasing the purchases from Puerto Rican farmers.
“Econo Supermarket is a purely Puerto Rican chain and we support what is here, but we need consumers to consume the local product,” said Salvador Ramírez, agronomist of the Econo Supermarket chain.
“The company has been with the Agroempresarios Program for approximately 12 years, aimed at the relationship with local agribusinessmen,” said the Wal-Mart Agronomist, Jorge Ramírez.
“We recognize the value of the local product, but the consumer has to ask for it,” added Ramírez.
The farmers expressed agreed to organize a work team to establish the Marketing Cooperative, a project that Agriculture is promoting to facilitate distribution between agribusinesses and chains.