Farmers say Maria wrecked bright spot of Puerto Rico economy

Farmers say Maria wrecked bright spot of Puerto Rico economy

Farmers fear Puerto Rico’s small but diverse agricultural sector may never recover from the sucker punch delivered to one of the island’s economic bright spots by Hurricane Maria.

While most of the island’s food is imported, statistics from the governor showed employment in agriculture growing, and the area cultivated was up 50 percent in the four years before Maria.

But all that came to a halt on Sept. 20 when the strongest hurricane in a century hit the island, leaving nearly all the population without electricity and most without water.

An ornamental plants grower estimates he lost $1.5 million. A dairy farmer says some 700 cows are missing or dead. And a coffee grower who was about to harvest the crop says there won’t be a harvest this year.

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