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Hispanic Federation and partners help revitalize Puerto Rico’s coffee industry

After three years of investment and development, the coffee industry is finally surpassing pre-hurricane levels.

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This year, Puerto Rico’s coffee production will surpass their pre-Hurricane levels for the first time since 2016.

When Hurricanes Maria and Irma hit the island, thousands lost their lives and hundreds of thousands were displaced. A total of $9 billion in damage had been done, with 80% of Puerto Rico’s coffee trees and harvest destroyed; an annual income of $85 million and an essential part of the local economy.

But with the efforts of the Hispanic Federation’s Puerto Rico Coffee Revitalization Initiative and support from the Miranda Family, corporate and philanthropic partners like Puerto Rico Coffee Roasters, Nespresso, Rockefeller Foundation, Starbucks, The Colibrí Foundation and over 140 additional organizations and initiatives across the island.

“The devastation of Hurricane Maria and Irma shed a powerful light on the inequities that have existed in Puerto Rico for decades. To make matters worse, Puerto Ricans were faced with government inaction and ambivalence as they struggled to survive in the aftermath,” said Hispanic Federation President Frankie Miranda in a press release. 

“Hispanic Federation and our partners did not wait or hesitate. We worked rapidly to get people on the ground, deliver supplies and support the organizations in Puerto Rico that were key to the island’s recovery. This report showcases our vital work over the last five years and what can be achieved when local communities, nonprofits and donors come together to build a stronger and more resilient Puerto Rico,” he added.

After five years of recovery efforts, Miranda still sees much work to be done as the Puerto Rican community brings itself back, but that this work not only is possible but feasible through the island's combined efforts.

As a part of the Hispanic Federation’s three-year investment into Puerto Rico’s recovery, they and their partners have invested $50 million into restoration efforts.

From their Coffee Revitalization Initiative, over 2 million locally grown arabica seeds were distributed to 1,139 smallholder farms, increasing their economic potential by $6 million at the farm level and an estimated $10 million at the mill level.

“I am so grateful for the enormous support Hispanic Federation and the Coffee Revitalization Initiative has provided to rebuild a farm that has been in my family for generations,” said Antonio Burgos, a coffee farmer in Orocovis, Puerto Rico whose trees were fully replanted by the Coffee Revitalization Initiative. 

“My son and I are proud to have been able to restore this farm, which once belonged to my grandfather, using all the best practices and resources to continue its legacy of abundance. We’re excited for the best harvest we’ve had in years, and look forward to the future growth and success of our farm,” he added.

In addition to the support of the coffee industry, the Hispanic Federation has helped improve Puerto Rico’s recovery by installing 250 solar panels, donating $52 million towards rebuilding 525 houses for 1,400 residents, coordinating with the University of Puerto Rico to create the University Project for Empowerment, Transformation, and Recovery (PATRIA) to teach students the skills to handle Puerto Rico’s mental health crisis following the pandemic, hurricanes, and earthquake, and successfully advocated for Puerto Rico’s inclusion in the American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) Expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC) program.

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