Governor announces effort to boost food & beverage manufacturing
SAN JUAN — Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced Monday the beginning of a business incubator-like process to develop new food and beverage manufacturing companies, with an estimated economic impact of $2.4 million through various phases of the project intended to increase production and substitute imports.
The project begins with a $215,000 investment from the Special Economic Development Fund (FEDE by its Spanish acronym), identified by the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. (Pridco), the governor said, adding it will be developed as a collaboration between the Agroindustrial Innovation and Technology Center (CITAI by its Spanish initials) of the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), Mayagüez, and the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co. (Pridco).
“This effort, focused on the development of small and midsize enterprises through innovation and the development of technology, fulfills the programmatic commitment of the Plan for Puerto Rico in order to strengthen the local economy. In this project, guidance and technical support for their businesses will be given to those interested in the development of food and beverage manufacturing,” Rosselló explained.
For his part, Pridco Executive Director Manuel Laboy explained that the development of the food and beverage manufacturers will begin with three courses that the CITAI will offer on how to establish a food and beverage manufacturing company; best manufacturing practices; and a workshop for qualified individuals on preventive controls.
The workshops will be held April 18 and 19 at the Economic Development & Commerce Department (DDEC by its Spanish initials) and will later be offered at several municipalities.
“Through the funds identified by the Industrial Development Company, we will contribute half of the cost of the workshops that will be offered to these entrepreneurs. We know how important the development of this sector is on the island and we want to be a fundamental part of the path to incentivize local entrepreneurship and strengthen the export of our products,” Laboy said.
Meanwhile, UPR Interim President Darrel Hillman said that “at the UPR, we are committed to developing entrepreneurship to boost the island’s economic development, which is why this focus has been incorporated in all the disciplines we teach. But we want to expand the UPR’s educational reach beyond our student body, supporting…the food and beverage segment through training programs, technical support, and incubation.”
UPR Governing Board Chairman Walter Alomar added that “the initiative will add revenue to the university system while allowing potential entrepreneurs on the island to benefit from the knowledge of UPR experts.”
In the press release, Agriculture Secretary Carlos Flores, added that “the manufacture of food and beverages in Puerto Rico are key elements in the development of a modern and business-minded agriculture that will benefit from these economic development initiatives.”
Farmers, he said, “have advanced a lot, and today they not only plant and harvest, but are looking to add value to their products to have better opportunities in today’s markets,”
For more information about the workshops, contact the DDEC at 787-765-2900, ext. 5410 and 3353.