Farm Bureau supports González’s designation as agriculture secretary
Saying they “foresee a rebound in the sector” under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary-designate, Ramón González, members of the Puerto Rico Farm Bureau threw their support behind the farmer, whose confirmation hearing is scheduled for today at the Senate.
During a press conference, leaders of the coffee, fishing, dairy, and family markets sectors, together with Farm Bureau President Héctor Iván Cordero, spoke in favor of González, but warned they will oversee his work, if confirmed to the post.
“Agricultural production in Puerto Rico is only enough to supply 15% of the food consumption of our population, since 85% is imported,” Cordero said. “Given this fact, the implementation of public policies aimed at strengthening our agriculture and, in turn, promoting its development as part of a strategically ordered plan that requires, among other things, a committed leadership capable of promoting the growth of our sector.”
González, a former Bureau president, has 30 years of experience in agriculture, which Cordero and other farming sector representatives said make him capable of “excelling” in the post.
Iris Jannette Rodríguez, chairwoman of the Bureau’s coffee sector, said after losing 90% of crops and 85% of the farms, farmers are still trying to recover. However, she proposed a number of strategies to make a comeback.
“Puerto Rican coffee was once number one in the world for its quality and flavor, and we can regain that position by supporting the farms run by small and medium-sized coffee growers and encouraging the development of new agricultural technology to improve productivity,” she said.
“It’s also necessary to improve the compensation, training and quality of life of agricultural workers, as well as to work with the local private sector for the long-term sustainability of the Puerto Rico coffee market,” she said.
“If a plan for opening, collaboration, work, execution and good faith is prepared by the designated secretary, we will strengthen the coffee industry in Puerto Rico, and we have no doubt that Ramón González can direct that much-needed route,” Rodríguez said.
Agricultural leaders also said Puerto Rico cannot ignore the urgent need to become aware of the importance of strengthening and promoting the development of Puerto Rico’s agriculture, especially now, when the threat of food insecurity looms.