Puerto Rican consumers who have refrained from including corned beef in their shopping baskets because of how expensive it has gotten in recent years may be happy to know that a local farmer and entrepreneur will begin selling a locally produced brand of the favorite island staple.
Raúl Rivera, president of Ciales-based Metzgermeister Research Corp., announced Monday that starting Wednesday, consumers will be able to find the first cans of the “Orgullo Campesino” corned beef, to be made with 100 percent local beef from a farm in Naguabo. The product will be sold at the 58 Econo Supermarkets stores islandwide at a fraction of the price currently charged for imported corned beef, which hovers at around $5 per can.
“This project arises from the union of several sectors, in this case, our initiative to create a high-quality product accessible to the Puerto Rican pocket, the availability of our farmers in the meat production sector, and Econo in its support of local industry,” Rivera said.
The production project will create 215 direct, 254 indirect and 187 induced jobs. In its first phase, Orgullo Campesino will require more than 4.5 million pounds of beef, which translates into using about 14,000 acres of land to raise cattle.
“In this first phase, we expect to produce a volume of one 120 containers, representing approximately 10 containers per month,” Rivera said. “This initiative also creates a new demand for beef, which directly impacts farmers, cattle owners, the slaughterhouse as well as the processing plant.”
To get the project off the ground, Metzgermeister enlisted the help of several government agencies. While the Agriculture Department assigned $200,000 to improve conditions at the Naguabo cattle farm, the Economic Development Bank agreed to double Metzgermeister’s current credit line to $5 million.