The secretary of the Department of Agriculture of Puerto Rico (DA), Carlos Flores Ortega, announced today that the agricultural sector presented losses of $ 5.5 million after the passage of tropical storm Laura.
"We need to restore agricultural production, being one of the industries most affected after the weather event, especially in the southeast region. We urge all farmers who suffered damage to make their claims through the federal Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) of the Farm Service Agency (FSA). In the same way, they must carry out due process to apply through the regular incentive programs; agricultural machinery, fertilizer or seeds, "said the secretary.
" In this way, attending to and understanding the concerns of farmers We must clarify that there has never been any insurance aimed at compensating losses due to atmospheric events such as squalls, droughts, fires and storms. e Seguros Agrícolas (CSA), an office attached to the DA, offers hurricane and flood insurance. However, it does not receive a General Fund budget and its role as sole insurer in agriculture is possible thanks to the sale of insurance from the Federal Crop Insurrance Corp of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), who is responsible for assuming the risk and paying the losses, "he added.
The department, as an initiative to improve the supply of agricultural insurance, in June 2019 amended the Agricultural Insurance Law with the approval of Law Number 76, offering the opportunity to the private insurance sector that could offer their insurance to farmers So far, no response has been received from any insurance company with interest.
The sectors with the greatest impact were bananas and papayas with 71 and 20 percent. percent, respectively. The milk and coffee sectors follow with three percent. While infrastructure was affected by one percent.
The DA detailed the losses by agricultural regions. Queues being Ponce the most affected with losses of $ 4 million, Naranjito $ 684 thousand, Utuado $ 324 thousand, Caguas $ 186 thousand, Arecibo $ 110 thousand, Lares and Mayagüez with $ 12 thousand and San Germán being the least affected with $ 3,000. from the DA and the field agronomists began their visits from Sunday to the municipalities of Guayama, Salinas, Santa Isabel and Coamo that received the direct impact of Laura where strong winds and rains were registered.
The data of the losses is obtained through a scientific and methodical process to find out where efforts and aid for recovery are going to be directed.
Given the concern of several citizens about the shortage of these local products, "especially with bananas, it is important to mention , that the import from other places of the product will not be allowed. It is expected that for two months, we will have the crop ready to continue with its consumption, "said the Minister of Agriculture.
Farmers should make their claims at the regional agricultural offices, at the Farm Agency Service office, contact the 787-721-2120, 787-294-1613 or by email [email protected]