Above: Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla at a coffee farm
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Puerto Rico is planning a major boost for the island’s coffee industry.
Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla this week revealed a plan that he said would generate around 6,000 new jobs over the next two years.
The initiative would develop around 6,300 hectares of land on the island for planting and harvesting, a number that could mean around 20,000 hectares of land for the industry in Puerto Rico, he said. The project will involve $4.2 million in incentives for landowners and farmers; the Department of Agriculture will also be offering technical advice, the Governor’s office said.
Garcia also announced $670,000 in grants under a production subsidy programme aimed at “stimulating” the production of coffee. He said his administration was “convinced that agriculture is not a commitment to the past — that it shouldn’t be seen with nostalgia.”
“Agriculture is a very important tool for the present and the future path,” he said.
The Governor said agreements have already been signed with 25 nurseries. Beginning in February, a coffee planting initiative will target the 6,300 hectares, which Garcia said could lift production by 30 percent in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is the latest country in the Caribbean region looking to take a greater share of the global coffee market.
Further south, the island of Dominica has recently embarked on a major programme to spur coffee production, conducted in partnership with the government of Venezuela.