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Some 100 farmers negotiate $2.5M in deals during ‘ExpoAlimentaria’ event

About 100 local agribusinesses reported having negotiated some $2.5 million in commercial agreements with some of the island’s major food chains during the recent “Expo Alimentaria” event held Nov. 2-3 in San Juan.

Agriculture Secretary Carlos Flores confirmed the agreements represent one of the biggest initiatives with results reported and evidenced in recent years.

The event was the result of a joint effort between the Department of Agriculture and the private sector. It drew participation from about 2,000 people from all over the island, mostly from the agricultural sector.

Agribusinesses had the opportunity to arrange some 150 business meetings with nearly 100 buyers representing major supermarket chains and food distributors throughout the island.

Dorian Vázquez, president of Procesadora Esperanza — dedicated to the development of “sofritos” and processing of fresh meat for institutions like senior centers and head starts — said the event opened the doors for their product to expand into supermarket chains such as Selectos and Econo.

“Not only were they able to taste our product, but we started negotiations to sell in those chains and follow-up others like Walmart,” she said. “Before this, we only sold our ‘sofritos’ in grocery stores in the center of the island.”

The event had a significant participation from women in the agriculture industry.

“Our greatest achievement is to have served as facilitators so that retailers and farmers successfully harmonized our production and market need to reach agreements that promote economic activity and allow the recovery of our agriculture,” Flores said.

“Today more than ever, it is essential that the local consumer support the freshness and quality of local products,” he said.

In the case of Montecristo, an agribusiness dedicated to the cultivation of tubers and starchy vegetables, they managed to close trade agreements that could be worth some $25,000 initially.

“We hope to be present at Selectos Supermarkets with our cut cassava, fried cassava, and cassava and banana ingredients for ‘alcapurrias’ and ‘pasteles’ this month,” said company President Lester González, who expressed satisfaction with being able to close deals time for the holiday season.

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