There are federal funds aimed at addressing the economic impact that the pandemic had on the traditional crops sector. (Archive)
The Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Carlos Flores Ortega, and the director of the Agricultural Service Agency in Puerto Rico (FSA, for its acronym in English), Wanda Pérez, today urged farmers to carry out the claim process for companies of traditional crops affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic under the Food Assistance Program for the Coronavirus (CFAP, for its acronym in English).
“We encourage farmers to apply for help from CFAP. The federal agency extended the CFAP 1 deadline, now being October 9 to fill out the claim application. No farmer should be left without receiving it. They have to fill out the documents to be able to claim the funds that are directed to address the economic impact that the sector of traditional crops or “specialty crops” had, said the secretary.
The agricultural sector has been one of the most affected since 2017, the year from which it has suffered the impact of hurricanes, storms, earthquakes and the pandemic.
The Secretary of Agriculture added that his agency has the tools to provide support to all those who need it through regional directors and field agronomists. The regional offices have computers and internet; they can even get the applications in hard copy to be delivered directly to the FSA Offices.
The regional offices are located in Arecibo, Caguas, Lares, Mayagüez Naranjito, Ponce, San German and Utuado and operate in compliance with health and safety protocols for the virus.
Department of Agriculture staff will make every effort in coordination with the FSA so that farmers can do the due process application.
Last July, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the inclusion of traditional crops such as; avocado, basil, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carambola, coconut, coriander, banana, banana, sweet potato, pickle, eggplant, grapefruit, guava, tomato, lemon, lettuce, china, papaya, parcha, pineapple, sweet potato, taro, yucca and yautía, among others.
“ Approved applications can receive a maximum of $ 250,000 per farmer, with some limited exceptions. The money that will be awarded will depend on a table that evaluates the ropes of the farms and the production cycle. But, they must apply. We are ready to serve them, ”added Flores Ortega.
For his part, Pérez said that the CFAP 2 program is being extended, adapting to meet the needs of affected farmers and ranchers. The deadline to apply for CFAP 2 is December 11, 2020.
“More crops and their products are eligible in CFAP 2 that were not eligible in CFAP 1. The FSA offices continue to serve our farmers via phone and email. We encourage farmers to benefit from the collaboration of the Department of Agriculture to be able to receive all requests from farmers eligible under CFAP 1 and CFAP 2 within the deadline, “he said.
Interested farmers can contact us via email [email protected] or call 787-294-1613 or 787-721-2020.