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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Bureaucracy Threatens Coffee Harvest

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi/Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Jorge Alfredo Rivera Segarra

By The Star Staff

The chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Jorge Alfredo Rivera Segarra, called on the Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, to put his cabinet in order, given the war between the Department of Consumer Affairs (DACO, for its Spanish acronym) and the Department of Agriculture over the need for the former to decree the official price of a bushel of ripe coffee.

“It is DACO who has the power to establish the price so that coffee growers can be paid a fair price for their harvest. Agriculture submitted the first report, and DACO rejected it. Now we receive the information that the reconsideration was denied. Coffee growers are clamoring for action.

For Rivera Segarra, “it is unusual that the Governor has not sat down with the DACO and Agriculture. We are facing the best coffee harvest since Hurricane Maria. The coffee industry has worked hard for this achievement. We must act and fix the bureaucratic tangle.”

According to Agriculture’s estimates, this year’s harvest is around 50,000 quintals, and what is missing is the official establishment of what has been informally applied, which is the payment of $20 per bushel of ripe coffee grapes. Each bushel is about 28 pounds.

Last Friday, the Agriculture Committee of the House of Representatives held a meeting with various components of the coffee industry to address the claims of farmers, who demanded that the minimum price of $20 per bushel be officially established.

“We thank all those who participated, farmers, roasters, businesses, and mayors of the coffee towns, as well as officials from the UPR of Mayagüez and Secretary González Beiró. Although the DACO secretary was invited, he excused himself from the meeting but did not send a representative to the meeting,” Rivera Segarra concluded.

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