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World Central Kitchen secures additional $4M for P.R. projects thru ’23

World Central Kitchen Puerto Rico made a commitment with the Clinton Foundation to add $4 million in funds that will be used exclusively in Puerto Rico with the mission of promoting sustainable agriculture projects on the island under the “Plow to Plate” support platform, the nonprofit announced.

“Plow to
Plate” offers financial support and training to small farmers,
community-based projects, volunteer and agro-tourism programs, as well as
business initiatives in the food sector with the goal of strengthening Puerto
Rico’s agricultural ecosystem, increasing local harvests to feed households
with fresh products from the island and help reduce food insecurity tied to
food imports.

These funds will
make the aid viable until 2023. The announcement was made during the Clinton
Global Initiative meeting 2019 held in San Juan this week.

“In Puerto Rico, World
Central Kitchen is investing in small farmers, whose dream is to cut Puerto
Rico’s food imports, which account for 90 percent of the food they consume, by
half,” said Chef José Andrés, who in 2010 founded the non-governmental, nonprofit
organization dedicated to fighting world hunger and poverty.

“We become a wind
in that sail. The farmers are here, they only need help sometimes. By approving
a little grant, a small investment, we can help them fly,” said Andrés during a
panel discussion moderated by President Bill Clinton earlier this week as part
of a program of activities organized by the Clinton Foundation.

World Central
Kitchen has already assisted 35 farmers in Puerto Rico, with plans to expand
that to at least 200 farms across the island, Andrés said.

“We believe that farming
is what gives resilience to places like Puerto Rico. We need good, smart infrastructure
of small farmers to spread all over,” he said.

World Central Kitchen Puerto Rico announced that it is creating
strategic alliances with other local entities that are interested in being part
of the “Plow to Plate” initiative.

Among the
companies that have already agreed to participate is Triple S, with a
contribution of $100,000 to support the initiative.

“With these
partnerships, we will be able to impact 200 projects, train an additional 300
people and coordinate a minimum of 4,000 volunteers who want to join these initiatives
to help our farmers,” said Mikol Hoffman, manager of World Central Kitchen
in Puerto Rico.

Grants for Puerto
Rico participants include funds for infrastructure that can increase the
production capacity of agricultural projects, technical and business training for
agribusinesses to improve their skills in sales, marketing, business management
and finance, among others.

Similarly, initiatives
in agrotourism seek to promote visits from tourists who want to participate in
helping farms and agricultural projects as part of their stay in Puerto Rico.

During the panel
discussion on Tuesday, Clinton noted that food is more expensive in island
nations and in Puerto Rico, the “real controversy is that in Puerto Rico, the
average meal costs 10 percent more than in the mainland. And the food
assistance program is smaller here than in the mainland, which doesn’t make a
lick of sense.”

“Growing food
here would be more affordable, fresher and subject to certain standards that
would make it more nutritious,” Clinton said.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 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 areas of the economy.

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