Reviving Puerto Rico’s Coffee Industry
In the devastating wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Puerto Rico lost an estimated 80 percent of its coffee trees, crippling an important sector of its economy. Working with local and international partners across sectors, TechnoServe aims to help rebuild this industry, training thousands of smallholder coffee farmers to significantly increase their yields and help them access better farming supplies, financing, and markets.
In the devastating wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017, thousands of Puerto Rican coffee farmers lost their livelihoods when the storm destroyed over 80 percent of the coffee trees on the island. This $85 million loss crippled an important part of Puerto Rico’s economy and left farmers struggling to provide for their families.
Redemenceo Rosario Rivera, an 80-year-old farmer in Maricao, fondly remembers the golden years of coffee in Puerto Rico 20 years prior. Now, his 12-acre farm lies largely uncultivated after leaf rust and the hurricane claimed most of his coffee trees. But, he says, “If you give me good quality seed, I will plant and grow coffee again.”
With years of experience working with hundreds of thousands of coffee farmers around the globe, TechnoServe is joining a range of local and international partners to work with these farmers to rebuild Puerto Rico’s coffee industry. Starting in October 2018, TechnoServe will train thousands of smallholder coffee farmers to significantly increase their yields and help them access better farming supplies, financing, and markets. Through these efforts, Puerto Rico’s coffee farmers will be able to substantially improve their incomes, and help lead Puerto Rico forward into a more hopeful future.