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Bolster The Puerto Rico Economy Through Agriculture

Updated on January 4, 2015
Froggy213 profile image

A Gringo who moved to Puerto Rico, Greg loves writing about the island he now resides on. He and Maria also wrote several bilingual books...

Driving the #10 to Utuado, Puerto Rico
Driving the #10 to Utuado, Puerto Rico | Source

Maggie and I decided to visit her Aunt and Uncle in the mountains of Utuado yesterday. The drive through the beauty of Puerto Rico is relaxing and serene. As I drove and viewed the wide expanses of unused land, my mind began to reel about the economy of Puerto Rico and how the government is trying to handle the situation.

Recently, the United States government opened up relations with Cuba. In itself, I believe this is a good sign. There was something a journalist mentioned that did disturb me. The quote read: Can Cuba feed the United States? Why did this disturb me?

While I have traveled back and forth in between Puerto Rico, Missouri, and Nebraska, I found myself searching for products of Puerto Rico in the Midwest United States. I found none. Why?

I won't claim to be an agriculture expert, but I will mention that my family run a very large farming operation in Northern Iowa. I know enough about farming via my Uncle, and the Word of God to know that we as humans must depend on farmers. Growing crops will sustain the world.

The United States put Puerto Rico in a difficult situation. The exportation of goods from here must only be done via the U.S. Merchant Marines. The costs are high. Farmers find no profits in it. The majority of items grown in Puerto Rico stay in Puerto Rico for consumption here.

The Puerto Rican government decided that manufacturing is a better tax source, and they put all their "eggs in the manufacturing business." Most of this came to "special benefits" to pharmaceutical companies.

When you drive through Puerto Rico, instead of seeing lush crops, you see billboards and factories that have names such as:

  • Pfizer
  • Eli Lilly
  • Abbott Laboratories
  • Astra/Zeneca
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Merck
  • and many more

The Puerto Rico government has wanted to "amp up" the economy, and they have pushed higher tax rates on these companies. I watched as Pfizer tore down one of their biggest operations in Carolina, Puerto Rico.

Many of these companies are moving to overseas areas where they can make larger profits. They are leaving Puerto Rico in a quandary.

The Answer

So how does Puerto Rico survive the abandonment of these pharmaceutical companies?

It is simple.

It is time to go back to what these island survived on since it was conquered by Spanish forces. Yes, they depleted much of the gold reserves, but not all the other commodities they used it for.

Puerto Rico has a large supply of unused lands that are prime for farming. The Spanish used to love Puerto Rican:

  • Sugar
  • Bananas and plantains
  • Mangoes
  • Papayas
  • Yams
  • Fish
  • Coffee
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • More

The United States needs to help their people first. In doing so, they can help the world. Instead of importing from other countries, they first should consider their people. So who exports the biggest amounts of some of these items?

Who are the largest exporters?

Commodity
Country
 
Sugar
Brazil
 
Bananas and plantains
Ecuador
 
Oranges
Spain
 
Coffee
Brazil
 
Mangoes
Mexico
 
Papayas
Brazil
 
Tobacco
Brazil
 

Help Puerto Rico

All of the items in the table above will grow quite well in Puerto Rico. So why isn't it happening? Because there is no incentive. There is no profit. The taxes and shipping swallow any profits the growers could make.

Maggie's Aunt and Uncle had given a go at growing and roasting coffee. They could not afford to hire workers, because the payoff was not high enough. Now, the coffee trees just drop their fruit to the ground. It is the same with oranges, grapefruit and others commodities.

Those who control

I am calling upon both the Puerto Rican government and the United States government to take a close look at this.

The many who are begging in the streets could be picking coffee or oranges. The agriculture of Puerto Rico could feed many if handled correctly.

There is a good amount of unused lands that could be growing opportunities. Take some of the pie from Brazil and give it to Puerto Rico which is a part of the United States. It just makes good sense.

These are the people who have power to make this happen:

Dr. Myrna Comas Pagan
Puerto Rico Dept. of Agriculture Secretary
P.O. Box 10163
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00908-1163
Direct Phone: (787) 722-0291
Fax: (787) 723-8212
mcomas@agricultura.pr.gov

Agro. Luis Rivero Cubano
Executive Director FIDA

Phone: (787) 725-2020 ex. 2404
Fax: (787) 725-3983
rrivero@agricultura.pr.gov
sferrer@agricultura.pr.gov

Sr. Paul Rivera Vega
Marketing and International Manager
Phone: (787) 725.2020 ex. 2402
Fax: (787) 725.3983
rrivera1@agricultura.pr.gov
mastacio@agricultura.pr.gov

It is time to bring Puerto Rico back into a good economical standing, and agriculture IS the answer!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ripe OrangesRipe oranges, grapefruit, and a lemon/orange cross I pickedA cross between a lemon and an orange-great juice.
Ripe Oranges
Ripe Oranges | Source
Ripe oranges, grapefruit, and a lemon/orange cross I picked
Ripe oranges, grapefruit, and a lemon/orange cross I picked | Source
A cross between a lemon and an orange-great juice.
A cross between a lemon and an orange-great juice. | Source

Conclusion

Instead of considering the Communist regime of Cuba feeding the U.S., consider allowing Puerto Rico the opportunity.

Some of the outrageous rules and regulations need to be lightened, allowing Puerto Rican commodities free travel to the mainland.

© 2015 Greg Boudonck

Comments

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    • Froggy213 profile imageAUTHOR

      Greg Boudonck 

      3 years ago from Returned to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      Thanks to both of you. Hopefully the officials who have the power to enliven agriculture step up.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 

      3 years ago from Florida

      I have spent some time in Puerto Rico. This Hub is upsetting to know the facts as you have stated them. I remember when bananas were sent to the U.S. from P.R. When I was there the last time two years ago, there were many coffee and banana plantations. I wonder how they are faring now?

      Very informative Hub. Voted UP, and shared.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I hope what you suggest happens, Greg. I see a movement in the States back to agriculture. Small farms are making a comeback, and I find it exciting and necessary.

      blessings to you my friend.

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