Fight against the product from other countries

Puerto Rico: Plantain producers associate

Dozens of plantain producers in the country have decided to join as an Association to address the problems that affect their industry, such as competition from imported plantains, and to get ready for future events, such as hurricanes, among other issues.

Louis E. Mayer, the president of the Association of Plantain Producers from Puerto Rico, stated: "The initiative arose as a result of Hurricane Maria; the banana producers of Puerto Rico organized and the licenses to import bananas were given to them. Later, a group of plantain producers met with the Secretary of Agriculture and requested that the Department of Agriculture be in charge of buying the plantain, selling it, distributing it, and distributing the profit proportionally, based on our productions of the previous years, to all the producers of bona fide plantain. However, he did not agree with them and told them that it couldn't be done because the producers were not organized," he said.

A fight against imported plantains
"There are some products that are displacing our plantains," he said, adding that some companies have been importing tostones, ripe plantains, and vacuum-sealed plantains, which, he alleged, have pesticides, for years. He said the fruit comes from Latin America and that the federal Department of Agriculture removed these pesticides from the market because they were carcinogenic.

Mayer said that, now that they are organized, they would fight against that competition as an Association. He also said that, after Hurricane Maria, the country was importing an average of 64 containers of plantains per month.

"The restaurants should be very careful because the product they are being offered isn't healthy or fresh. That plantain enters Puerto Rico 15 to 30 days after being harvested," he warned.

Shortage after the hurricanes
After the passage of Hurricane Maria, the Government had to import plantains as most of the country's production was lost. Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador were some of the countries evaluated by the Department of Agriculture for the importation of plantains.

Due to the shortage, there was an increase in plantain smuggling. In December 2017, the authorities seized plantains from the Dominican Republic without the necessary permits or licenses to enter the country.


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