Over $1 million granted to island farmers since Fiona’s passage
By The Star Staff
Agriculture (DA) Secretary Ramón González Beiró said Tuesday that his agency had granted over $1 million to island farmers under the emergency program set up after Hurricane Fiona’s passage.
The agriculture chief made his remarks as he highlighted the recovery of the island’s farming sector.
Additionally, the DA has granted around $1.2 million in fertilizer incentives for planting and some $1 million for specialized equipment. The grants allow farmers to buy equipment for the construction of hydroponics, for pumps to recirculate water for hydroponics, construction of a sheep ranch, trimmers, warehouse construction, and for chainsaws.
“The DA is the first agency that quickly began to put the money in the hands of the farmers to recover their fields,” González Beiró said.
He emphasized that “we must restore our local production, so we continue to work so farmers can receive all available state and federal aid.”
Meanwhile, the DA also delivered more than 700 boxes of bees and 2,500 pounds of supplements for bees so beekeepers can increase production, since crops depend to a large extent on pollination.
The agency also delivered around 4,000 boxes of food harvested by farmers to nonprofit organizations to help the most disadvantaged populations and, in turn, help farmers sell crops that survived.
The Agricultural Insurance Corp. (CSA by its Spanish initials), meanawhile, has already paid out $5 million in claims. It will continue to provide funds until all the insured are satisfied. In the coming weeks, the CSA projects an additional $4 million disbursement currently in the approval process.