The Puerto Rico Association of Farmers will be supporting and promoting co-operatives as vehicles of agricultural development, according to the organisation’s president, Héctor Iván Cordero. He said other areas of focus would be agricultural education, biotechnology, agricultural engineering and alliances with financial institutions.
Speaking at a press conference at the College of Agronomists in Hato Rey, Mr Cordero explained how co-operatives helped farmers get better prices for their products, gain access to the market and improve products.
The Association has already started some co-operative initiatives. In April it helped set up Coople, a dairy co-operative in Puerto Rico (Co-operative de Productores de Leche de Puerto Rico), to provide better economic conditions for dairy farmers, guarantee a fair price for consumers and develop new dairy products using milk produced locally.
Another flagship project is Coopmap, a co-operative that helps farmers gain access to the market and exchange their products with products from other regions. This enables farmers to focus on production instead of having to sell the products themselves. The Association aims to establish similar co-operatives in other industries, said Mr Cordero.
Formed in 1924, thePuerto Rico Association of Farmers is a not-for-profit organisation that includes farmers, fishermen, entrepreneurs and other professionals working in agriculture.