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USDA names Caribbean Produce CEO to US Fruit and Vegetables Committee

US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of Ángel R. Santiago, CEO of Caribbean Produce Exchange as an advisor to the USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee (FVIAC) for the brokerage, distribution, import, export, and wholesale industries of these food categories for the United States and its territories. 

This appointment will be valid until October 2024. This is the first time since the committee’s inception that a Puerto Rican has been appointed to participate in it.

The FVIAC, established in 2001, advises the USDA Secretary ad honorem on issues and factors affecting the fruit and vegetable industry. Committee members represent more than 25 sectors including: organic and non-organic producers, shippers, wholesalers, retailers, industry trade associations, importers, exporters, processors, foodservice providers, food intermediaries, state departments of agriculture and farmers’ markets, at local, regional, and national levels.

The committee works under USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) standards and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act.

The AMS states that the diversity of the boards, councils, and committees it oversees should reflect the diversity of their industries in terms of member experience, production and distribution methods, marketing strategies and other distinctive factors, including, but not limited to, individuals from historically underserved communities, who will bring different perspectives and ideas to the table.

During the nomination process, AMS amplifies its reach, to pay special attention to underserved and vulnerable communities, to ensure the diversity of the population with members who bring their knowledge, skills, expertise, and capacity to serve a population with diverse needs.

With more than 22 years of experience in the food industry, Santiago has experience in the strategic development of a wide range of programs in multiple categories of innovative products and services, to meet the local and export market.

His professional leadership includes, among other achievements, the implementation of initiatives in support of local agri-entrepreneurs, skills programs and training for federal quality compliance, safe food handling, marketing and distribution, as well as the F2F program that allowed CPE to buy local food so that farmers would not lose their crops during the COVID-19 pandemic and then distribute more than 1.5 million boxes of food throughout Puerto Rico during the health crisis that brought food insecurity.

“It’s a true privilege, and I’m honored to be able to collaborate with Secretary Vilsack and the USDA as an advisor on factors affecting the produce industry, the national market, as well as issues related to production methods, distribution, marketing strategies, and other impact factors for more than twenty industries,” Santiago said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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