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Puerto Rico officials pick coffee, raise awareness

October 19, 2013

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — More than a dozen government officials in Puerto Rico are headed to the island’s mountainous interior to pick coffee in an effort to raise awareness about the hard-hit industry.

The initiative comes as the island keeps losing an estimated 35 percent of each year’s crop because there is no one to pick it.

Roughly 80,000 pounds (39,900 kilograms) of coffee were collected during the most recent harvest, one of the lowest in Puerto Rico’s history. Officials this year aim to collect 120,000 pounds (54,400 kilograms).

The governor recently announced an initiative to generate 6,000 new jobs and cultivate an additional 16,000 acres (6,400 hectares) in the next two years.

Employees of the island’s Senate were scheduled to arrive Saturday in the central town of Adjuntas to pick coffee.

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