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Puerto Rico seeks to boost coffee production

October 2, 2013

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor says he plans to boost the island’s sluggish coffee industry by generating 6,000 new jobs and cultivating an additional 16,000 acres (6,400 hectares) in the next two years.

Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Wednesday that the government will recruit workers in January and award $4.2 million in fertilizer incentives. He said another $670,000 will be available under a production subsidy program.

He says the government already has signed agreements with 25 nurseries, with the first crop expected in three years to boost production by 30 percent.

The island loses an estimated 35 percent of each year’s crop because there is no one to pick it. Some 80,000 pounds (39,900 kilograms) of coffee were collected during the most recent harvest, one of the lowest in the island’s history.

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