FEMA invests $2.6M in Puerto Rico’s agriculture sector
Puerto Rico’s agricultural industry is preparing to receive more than $2.6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Central Office of Recovery, Reconstruction and Resilience of Puerto Rico, or COR3, to continue recovery after Hurricane María.
The sector lost 40% of its infrastructure following the 2017 storm.
Among the obligations is $1.4 million to repair the coffee-storing facilities run by the Agriculture Department in Adjuntas, which employ 14 people. The facilities have a laboratory where farmers can measure the quality of their coffee.
Another $582,000 earmarked for the Agriculture Department is destined for repairs to the Mercadeo Warehouse and Limestone Quarry located in the Hato Viejo neighborhood in Ciales. There, lime is processed to correct the acidity levels in soils to improve crop yields, a key process for coffee, citrus, plantain and banana plantations in the mountainous area.
“Today, we can take a step forward in the recovery of the agricultural sector. These allocations represent an aid to infrastructure improvements and, without a doubt, to improve services in favor of our thousands of farmers,” Puerto Rico Agriculture Secretary Carlos A. Flores-Ortega said.
Another $108,000 was assigned to the Corporación de Conservación Etnoecológica Criolla, Inc., an ethnoecological conservation corporation in Caguas to replace equipment in its museum such as tools and vehicles.
This nonprofit manages the facilities of the municipality’s Botanical and Cultural Garden, promotes eco-tourism projects and oversees research and development of agricultural technology to be transferred to community agro-ecological businesses.
The municipality of Maricao will also carry out repairs to its warehouse located in the Indiera Baja neighborhood, with an obligation of nearly $61,000. Part of these funds will be used to reinforce the roof, windows and doors to withstand winds of up to 170 miles per hour.
This warehouse provides assistance to farmers in Maricao and neighboring farms that harvest coffee, plantains, bananas and oranges, among other crops, and also develops various agriculture programs.
Meanwhiel, $55,000 was granted to La Enseñat Farm, in the Bucarabones neighborhood of Las Marías for repairs to the roof of its storage area. This farm has an extensive plantation of about 500,000 small coffee bushes and roughly 30,000 small citrus trees.
This farm employs about 25 people and operates under a private investment and collaborative agreement with the Agriculture Department, which owns the land. All crops that are produced are sold locally.
“Puerto Rico’s recovery has a significant impact across all sectors. All areas have a fundamental role to play in building resilience for the future. Our efforts to secure obligations are ongoing so that subrecipient projects are completed and developed in ways that all residents deserve,” said COR3 Executive Director Ottmar Chávez.