As part of recovery projects after Hurricane María, the American Red Cross delivered the first incentive of $1,000 to 12 farmers from small farms in the island under the “Recuperacion Agrícola” program.
In collaboration with the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, and with a $3 million investment, the program will offer micro-grants to 450 farmers on the island and will be dedicated to supporting small farmers in their post-María recovery.
In addition, farmers received a training by the American Red Cross on how to best prepare for an upcoming disaster event including home fires, the nonprofits said.
Some of the farmers who received the incentive were: Miguel García from Comerío, Arturo López from Huerto Isleño, Carlos Cruz and Carmen Umpierre of Finca Noa in Toa Baja, Carmen Cruz and Carlos García of Finca Edén Tropical in San Germán, Diana Delgado of Finca Papa Eladio, Melissa Alvarado of Hacienda Agrícola in Comerío, Josefina Maple of Agroempresas Atabey, Inc., Kevin Alicea of Finca Las Matitas and Ana Evelyn Troche Hydroponic Vegetables of the West.
“At the American Red Cross, we’re very excited to begin this program that will help many farmers to continue their recovery efforts not only with monetary support but also with important training for disaster preparedness, entrepreneurship and more,” said Lee Vanessa Feliciano, regional executive of the Puerto Rico Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The deadline to apply for the “Recuperación Agrícola” micro-grants is Feb. 28, 2019. The program lasts 18 months.
“We recognize that the agricultural sector needs a transformation to achieve sustainable agriculture, especially because only 15 percent of the crops are from here,” said Science Trust CEO Lucy Crespo.
“That’s why we’re very excited to collaborate with the American Red Cross, which is the largest humanitarian organization in the world, which makes it the perfect partner to carry out this program,” she said.
It is expected that this month, the program will register close to 80 percent of the island’s farmers who meet the program’s requirements. The program will focus on land crops, women, veterans and agroecological farms and its benefits include:
- Cleaning and restoration of land;
- $1,000 monetary assistance;
- Tools and light equipment for agricultural work;
- Development of business and distribution capabilities;
- Technical assistance and services;
- Trainings; and,
- Education workshops on how to best prepare for an upcoming disaster event.
“We’re initiating a communications plan through the media and social networks to promote the participation of farmers in the program,” said Barbara Rivera, director of the “Recuperación Agrícola” program for the Science Trust.
“In addition, we will be visiting municipalities, markets and farming industry events and activities where program representatives will be completing the form to initiate the participation process,” she said.
To participate, farmers must have an email account, register at the recuperacionagricola.org site and create a password to access the online form.