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Walmart increases local produce purchases

Farmer Eddie Noel Torres of Santa Isabel (left), shows two Walmart executives some onions harvested at his farm.

Farmer Eddie Noel Torres of Santa Isabel (left), shows two Walmart executives some onions harvested at his farm.

Walmart Puerto Rico announced this week that as part of its efforts to strengthen local agricultural production, it recently signed agreements to buy large amounts of onions and oranges from local farmers.

The mega-retailer purchased 250,000 pounds of onions and 160,000 pounds of oranges that will be available on store shelves throughout Puerto Rico. Farmers who sold these products had surpluses that would have otherwise gone to waste had Walmart not picked them up, the retailer said.

“Walmart firmly believes in promoting local production of all types. The island’s agricultural product is preferred by our customers and in turn helps sustain the local economy,” said Iván Báez, director of corporate affairs at Walmart Puerto Rico.

Walmart’s purchases will support jobs and avoid significant losses in three municipalities. Walmart purchased 125,000 pounds of onions from farmer Carlos González of Guánica and another 125,000 pounds from farmer Eddie Noel Torres of Santa Isabel, and 160,000 pounds of oranges from Felipe Ozonas of Hacienda La Balear in Lares.

“This initiative is possible through market expansion strategies that call for making decisions based on a food chain that allows us to connect the farms with consumers and ensure a truly fresh product,” said Agriculture Secretary Mirna Comas, which mediated in the deals.

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.


  1. Carlos Toro April 17, 2013

    I would like to point out that Walmart does a very good job of supporting (and promoting the fact that they support!) local producers, but they are far from the only ones. According to the supplier, Walmart purchased 400 bags of onions. This week, Oscar Cash & Carry purchased 200 bags of onions. Although in absolute terms it is a lower quantity, on an available sales square-feet measurement, this happens to be a much larger purchase. There seems to be an undercurrent resentment by Walmart that feeds the need for them to promote the fact they support local producers. Do not forget that local food businesses, established in Puerto Rico way before Walmart got here, have been and continue to support local producers. The fact that we don’t show it off continuously does not lessen the fact we are here doing our part.

  2. newsismybusiness April 17, 2013

    We agree entirely with your point, and would like to note that if we were to receive press releases or notices from Oscar Cash & Carry about these same types of initiatives (or any other business-related activities) we would be more than happy to get the word out! Our email for press releases is news@newsismybusiness.com. Thanks!


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