Agronoticias: Agriculture News from Latin America and the Caribbean
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01/01/2018

Growing an Agricultural Revolution in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico had good reasons to want an agricultural and food system revolution before Maria—and now, they have urgency for that transformation to take place.

Luis Ruiz, left, and Jonathan Quinonez clean the dirt off an auger as they dig a hole to place a concrete power pole in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

December 29th marked 100 days since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. Today, the island imports 95 percent of its food. As a major disaster aid package progresses—slowly—through Congress, it’s time to prioritize the island’s right to food security.

Carlos Flores Ortega, Puerto Rico’s Secretary of Agriculture, recently said, “This is a learning lesson; not all is bad.” He explains farmers now know which crops and buildings can survive a Category 5 hurricane.

One hundred days out, national crop insurance is starting to kick in. The USDA reports that only USD$22 million worth of crop value was insured in Puerto Rico, while Flores Ortega reports that the total losses are at least ten times that amount. Though crop insurance is an important policy mechanism, those farms that do maintain insurance policies are often the largest farms growing a small number of commodity crops.

This article is incomplete. Click here to read the full text from its original source, Food Tank
Photo Credit: Master Sgt. Joshua DeMotts / CC0 Public Domain

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