The Marketing, Industry and Food Distribution Chamber resolved Saturday to lobby — at the local and federal levels — to protect the close to $2 billion in federal funds Puerto Rico receives to float the Nutritional Assistance Program during next year’s Farm Bill review, organization officials said during its general assembly.
Furthermore, the trade group known as MIDA in Spanish, will also push to get Puerto Rico reinserted into the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which could shore up another $450 million for local families.
Since 1982, Puerto Rico has received block funding from the federal government to cover the nutritional needs of the island’s indigent population. While Puerto Rico has been able to achieve significant increases in the funding it receives, MIDA Executive Director Manuel Reyes said it is crucial that the island does not let down its guard.
“As is well-known, the U.S. is again at a budgetary crossroads and the messages we’re getting is that programs like WIC and NAP could be on the list of cuts,” Reyes said.
In light of that “threat,” Puerto Rico must “come together and go to Washington as a single voice. We need to deliver a common front of all secotrs of our society,” said MIDA President-elect Ferdysac Márquez.