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More than 1K students hit coffee fields

An unidentified student (left) picks ripe coffee beans alongside Agriculture Secretary Neftalí Soto.

More than 1,000 students hit Puerto Rico’s coffee fields over the weekend to pick the ripe beans alongside a crew of government officials, the Agriculture Department confirmed.

Led by Secretary of State Kenneth McClintock and Agriculture Secretary Neftalí Soto, students enrolled in public and private schools, as well as belonging to Boys Scouts troops, picked coffee at 14 farms along Puerto Rico’s coffee belt: Lares, Las Marías, Maricao, San Sebastián, Utuado and Adjuntas.

This initiative aims to move youth from the city to the country, while helping farmers who are hard-pressed to find willing coffee pickers to harvest this year’s crops.

“If we want to develop future farmers, we need to encourage the commitment and interest of young people in agriculture at an early age,” Soto said. “So it’s important that these young people get real work experience in agricultural projects.”

The initiative is one of several the agency is conducting to recruit full time coffee pickers during this year’s harvest, mostly government assistance programs beneficiaries, who will not be penalized for working in the fields.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 29 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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