Puerto Rico Farmers Still Recovering from Last Year’s Hurricanes

Podcast / Newsline October 18, 2018

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More than a year later, Puerto Rico farmers are continuing their recovery efforts from hurricanes Maria and Irma. Micheal Clements has more.

Clements: Farmers in Puerto Rico are still working to recover from last summer’s hurricanes that devasted agriculture in Puerto Rico. Jose Lopez, Puerto Rico Farm Bureau program development director, says recovering from massive hurricanes takes time.

Lopez: This is a complicated and very timely process. When we analyze the recovery efforts we could say that each specific sector inside of our agriculture is recovering as fast as each one of them can.

Clements: Lopez says the biggest challenge for farmers in Puerto Rico is promptness of disaster recovery payments from USDA agencies.

Lopez: Farmers have already submitted the programs through the different USDA agencies. Some of the agencies have already paid the amount that farmers were entitled to after they were approved, but other agencies have not. And, that’s something that is causing a lot of trouble for farmers.

Clements: Despite all the challenges farmers have faced during the recovery, he says Puerto Rico agriculture is moving forward.

Lopez: Farmers are resilient. No matter how tough the situation, farmers will still wake up at five a.m. in the morning and go to the farms and work because there’s no other way about it. That’s how Puerto Rico farmers work and we are definitely getting back on our feet.

Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.

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