Despite the recent inclement weather that has affected Puerto Rico, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Carlos Flores Ortega, has assured that there were no significant losses in the country's plantain crops, so that the Government has decided not to activate import protocols for plantains from other countries.
After a long period of drought and the passage of Hurricane Maria, it is estimated that the Puerto Rican plantain will all be harvested in the same period of time, as the harvest won't be staggered like on other occasions. However, the price of plantain, one of the staple foods on the island, has increased due to the current low stock. "Even though they are expensive, we don't have to import them," Carlos Flores insisted.
If the country started importing plantains from other countries, such as Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic, the producers of Puerto Rico would not have the same opportunity to sell their product, now that the harvest is near.
The secretary of agriculture indicated that the product still costs less than a dollar and that it can't be cheaper, given the high production costs, honest wages, and other benefits paid to workers on the island. He also said there were farmers who sold them for 55 or 60 cents and that there were profit margins for all the components of the production and distribution chain.
Producing plantains takes 10 to 11 months and the drought conditions have made a dent in the season, as farmers have had to invest in irrigation systems, he added.
"We are at a time when there is a drought, but there is enough plantain. These are normal cycles that occur in nature, in the biology of plants. We are always going to have production," he concluded.