Gov’t officials mark Coffee Harvest Achievement Day
By John McPhaul
Labor and Human Resources Secretary Gabriel Maldonado González on Sunday recognized the work of coffee employers and employees during “Coffee Harvest Achievement Day 2022.”
Held at Hacienda El Jibarito in San Sebastián, the event included recognizing the employer who recruited the most employees using the government’s Employment Service. Also recognized were the workers and employers who stood out in the current harvest season for collecting the largest amount of coffee.
The recognition seeks to encourage and motivate both agricultural workers and employers for the extraordinary work they do in an industry that is difficult to recruit for and whose efforts have an essential impact on the agricultural, economic and social development of Puerto Rico, Maldonado González.
“For more than two centuries, the coffee industry in Puerto Rico has had a great impact on agriculture, economic and social development, as a domestic industry that not only generates thousands of direct and indirect jobs and international recognition of the product,” the official said in a written statement. “In this context, from the Department of Labor and Human Resources, it is important to recognize and reward the men and women who with tenacity and love for the land obtain great results through the cultivation and harvesting of coffee, results that generate economic development, creation of jobs and local and international recognition for the island.”
Agriculture Secretary Ramón González Beiró emphasized the contribution made by coffee workers and farm owners. “Thanks to the effort and perseverance of all those who work in the coffee sector, today we can celebrate the fact that Puerto Rico has recovered from the devastation left by Hurricane Maria on coffee farms,” he said. “The coffee growers organized themselves and managed to revive the coffee industry so that today we can continue enjoying local coffee. Efforts continue and from the Department, we will help modify the programs according to current needs. New incentives and the new Coffee Program, among other aid, have been developed to continue meeting their needs.”
Vanessa Piñeiro, president of the Puerto Rico Farmers Association, said “[r]ecognizing the men and women who work every day so that we can have our little cup of coffee is an extremely important achievement.”
“We need a generational transfer in coffee farming and agriculture in general, and the best way to achieve this is by publicizing their achievements and demonstrating that there are many successful agribusinesses in coffee farming,” she said. “The success of the coffee industry rests on human resources.”
Regarding the awards, the recognition of the agricultural employer who used the Employment Service the most to recruit workers went to the Finca Bermúdez López de Adjuntas. The workers who produced the most coffee were: Marcos A. Matos Pérez from Hacienda Tres Ángeles de Adjuntas, who collected 2,446 bushels. He was followed by Otoniel Tavera Duarte, who works at Hacienda Ramírez in San Sebastián and collected 1,218 bushels. Third place went to Héctor Santiago Quiñones from Siembra Finca Caracolillo in Maricao, who collected 1,216 bushels.
The largest coffee harvesting agricultural concerns were the following: Siembra Finca Caracolillo de Maricao with 12,525.92 bushels, Hacienda Monte Alto de Adjuntas with 1,350.66 bushels and Hacienda Ramírez de San Sebastián with 7,222.60 bushels. Placing fourth was Finca Oscar Ruiz Ruiz de Las Marías, which had 4,882.68 bushels, and fifth place went to Hacienda Los Eucaliptos de Lares with 4,588.32 bushels.