In face of the destruction caused almost three months ago by Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico is proposing to solve the shortage of bananas by importing them from Latin American countries. The Puerto Rican Minister of Agriculture, Carlos Flores Ortega, revealed that he is evaluating several producers in Latin America to increase the purchase of this item in order to satisfy the local demand, which is increased by the Christmas festivities.
Agricultural officials identified quality products in Costa Rica and Colombia, while analyzing the importation of bananas from Ecuador while waiting for them to meet import standards for the island. Flores explained that agreements in progress with Latin American nations will meet the demand in Puerto Rico, without risking local plantations with possible new diseases.
Currently, he said, the country receives the fruit through the Association of Producers of Bananas of Puerto Rico, which supplies the local markets that request it, through the entry of 28 weekly vans loaded with 1,080 boxes. It is expected that this amount will allow demand to be met until Puerto Rican production begins, affected by hurricanes Irma and María.
The island needs an average of 35 weekly containers of banana. The Minister of Agriculture revealed that agreements have already been finalized with Colombia and with the main food distributors in Puerto Rico to import about 20 containers of bananas that must arrive in the last week of December.
A technical-scientific group traveled with Flores to Ecuador in order to increase the import of 10 to 15 weekly fruit vans, which must arrive in the country at the beginning of January. The Minister signed a collaboration agreement on importation, which establishes that wholesalers will reserve a 30% quota for Puerto Rican farmers in the sector. (I)