Puerto Rico Delegation Requests Federal Funds for Agriculture
SAN JUAN – Senate Agriculture Committee President Luis Berdiel Rivera announced Thursday that he will meet with representatives of federal agencies on Feb. 27, in order to request funds for Puerto Rico’s farming and fishing industry.
Also joining the meeting will be House Agriculture Committee President Joel Franqui and and Agriculture Secretary Carlos Flores. The meeting will take place on the island along with the federal representatives.
“In this meeting we could be able to receive funds, both for the fishing sector as well as other agricultural sectors,” said Berdiel Rivera during a public hearing in which Senate Resolution 58 was being evaluated to study the conditions for fishing villages in Ponce, Guayanilla, Peñuelas, Guánica, and Lajas. Juana Díaz is expected to be included in the resolution as well.
Senate Agriculture Commission President Luis Berdiel Rivera (File Photo)
Thus, the legislator encouraged municipalities to have their fishing licenses up-to-date, because if they are “organized,” they qualify for federal aid. “If not, that aid will collapse,” he declared.
During the public hearing, Guánica Mayor Santos Seda Nazario explained to the Senate Agriculture Committee that the second construction phase of the fishing dock in Playa Santa is on hold because their $83,000 fund is frozen in the Government Development Bank (GDB).
The mayor of Guánica, a municipality that is also in charge of Barrio Pueblo and Salinas, acknowledged the study’s importance, since he believes the fish market’s facilities are in need of improvements.
Meanwhile, the administrator of Playa de Ponce’s Villa Pesquera (Fishing Village), Eliezer Maldonado Torres, maintained that the zone’s only infrastructure problem is related to sedimentation from Portugués River, which hinders vessels’ entry and exit. Ponce has 16 active fishermen who have expressed concern over vandalism and theft in their work areas.
For his part, Guayanilla Mayor Nelson Torres Yordán said that, although there are 13 active fishermen in the municipality, they don’t have adequate facilities for their operations.
In the case of Lajas, the municipality has 42 active fishermen who have expressed concern over the state of Papayo’s fishing village, which is under jurisdiction of the Housing Department because as a special community. This situation has hindered the municipality ability to offer help, which is why they requested a transfer to repair the installations, Lajas’ Planning director, Carlos López, said.