SAN JUAN – With an allocation of 92.5 million dollars, the Re-Grow Puerto Rico Urban and Rural Agriculture program of the CDBG-DR program seeks to assist the island’s agricultural economy in response to hurricanes Irma and María, it transpired on Tuesday.
The program promotes food security throughout the Island, as well as improving and expanding agricultural production by linking it with economic revitalization and sustainable development activities.
For his part, the Secretary of the Housing Department, Luis Fernández Trinchet, expressed in a written communication that “in order to guarantee agroeconomic development, we continue to promote this initiative together with the Trust, because we believe in the potential that Puerto Rico has to do grow this sector and help us minimize our dependence on exports. The fruit of the work of these farmers also benefits society, so we are very excited about the results that Re-Grow will have for the Island ”.
The official stressed that the amounts of the grants fluctuate between 25,000 and 150,000 dollars; The amount awarded will be determined based on the information submitted in the application and will be further refined in the evaluation process.
Likewise, the main executive officer of the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust (PRSTRT), Lucy Crespo commented that “we are proud that the Trust has been selected as the entity to implement this ambitious project, as comprehensive and with so much scope for the island’s agricultural industry. We are confident that we have the experience, technology, resources, and agility necessary to carry out this task successfully, providing a robust boost to the economy of the Port. Rich”.
The Trust is in charge of the implementation of Re-Grow with its staff, technology and experience; Its mission is to promote the economy of Puerto Rico in segments of greater vulnerability, such as agriculture.
Re-Grow offers grants to small farmers and agricultural businesses; and provides a wide range of technical assistance activities in order to equip the agricultural sector with the capacities to gain access to more essential services and resources.
Technical assistance may include assistance in the application processes to access certification and other benefits available to farmers; farmer support and mentoring services; agricultural educational workshops related to agricultural methods, techniques and skills development; and programmatic services that contribute to capacity development within a certified farm or farm operation.
The program focuses on small and medium-sized farms, agricultural companies and non-governmental organizations that were affected by the hurricanes and are involved in sustainable agricultural activities; this also includes fishmongers and aquaculture activities.
Entities eligible to apply for and receive grants and technical assistance will be farmers, agribusinesses, and small and medium-sized organizations as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The USDA defines small and medium farms as operations with annual gross income of less than $ 350,000.
Likewise, such entities must be involved in “agricultural operations”, as defined by the grant.
Farms and agricultural companies can be pre-existing, relaunched or in an emerging stage. This includes farms or farmers with small and medium operations, within the different agricultural disciplines; small and medium agricultural enterprises that support the activities and production of small farms and small farmers; food producers, manufacturers, distributors or suppliers engaged in the local production or distribution of food; community organizations involved in food production or distribution; and agricultural microenterprises made up of five or fewer employees.
Prior to Hurricanes Irma and María, the Puerto Rican agricultural sector had experienced a period of decline due to lower commodity prices, a decline in higher-wage jobs in the more industrialized sectors, and a lack of young people. seeking careers in agricultural professions.
Hurricanes significantly compounded these challenges by causing a loss of more than 80 percent of the value of the crop and more than $ 780 million in immediate economic damage to agriculture.
For program guidance and assistance, individuals can access www.prsciencetrust.org/es/re-grow/ write to email [email protected]; Call 787-936-7755 or send correspondence to the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust, PO Box 363475 San Juan, Puerto Rico 00936-3475.
People with some functional diversity, with accessibility problems or who require more information about these programs, can write to the email [email protected]; call TTY 787-522-5950 access our website www.cdbg-dr.pr.gov or send correspondence to the postal address PO Box 21365 San Juan PR 00928-1365.