Puerto Rico looking to incentivize agriculture to boost economy
Food and agriculture are part of the backbone of the global economy. In the United States alone farms contributed $136.7 billion, while the agriculture and food industry as a whole created nearly $1 trillion of economic impact, totaling approximately 5.5% of the entire gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.The businesses and government in Puerto Rico have their eye on the agriculture industry, as they look to create sustainable development and future growth through the industry’s economic contributions.
In a recent interview with Accuweather, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture of Puerto Rico, Carlos Flores Ortega, discussed Governor Ricardo Rosselló’s eight-year plan to double the amount of food produced in Puerto Rico through local farms and industry. The territory currently only produces approximately 15% of the food residents consume within the territory itself.
Residents are betting on the future of Puerto Rico’s agriculture and food production industry as well. Maria Teresa Juan Urrutia recently started her own goat cheese company near Juncos, called Queso Lucía. After seeing that 100% of the goat cheese consumed in Puerto Rico is currently imported, Maria decided that starting the venture would be a great way to provide residents and visitors with a fresh, local product while pursuing her passion.
The Department of Agriculture also opened up a special holiday market for the local fishing industry to showcase and sell their freshly-caught seafood products to residents and visitors in Santurce. An initiative has also been put in place to provide $400,000 in new materials to licensed fishermen in Puerto Rico to increase their production output to provide more options and higher quantity to the public.
Another new form of agricultural venture popping up in Puerto Rico are fusion farms. Fusion farms are an innovative aquaponics farming venture for socially-conscious investors to develop agricultural infrastructure through controlled, indoor crop production. This venture is designed to protect against the destruction of natural disaster and create a less risky environment for producing agricultural products within Puerto Rico.
These developments in the agriculture and food industry within Puerto Rico reflects expanding economic opportunity in the sector. Residents, businesses, and government officials are all seeking to work together and create opportunities to produce more agricultural and food products locally, providing better products and economic benefit to the community.