Have you ever taken a sip of Puerto Rican coffee? It’s taste-y! But the coffee industry isn’t what it used to be especially after Hurricane Irma and Maria. There’s no doubt that the island’s hurricane recovery and financial difficulties have contributed to the once rich coffee industry to decline. But leave it to Lin-Manuel Miranda to come in and be the hero of the day!
Lin-Manuel and the Miranda family have announced they are launching a five-year, $1 million dollar, initiative to help revive Puerto Rico’s coffee and their farmers. But it’s not just the Miranda’s that are part of this program but also the Hispanic Federation, Nespresso, The Rockefeller Foundation, Starbucks, TechnoServe, and World Coffee Research.
Today Vanessa took @Lin_Manuel and leaders from TechnoServe, @NespressoUSA, @HispanicFed, and more on a tour of her coffee farm, which was devastated by #HurricaneMaria. See how our new project will help Vanessa and other farmers in #PuertoRico rebuild: https://t.co/KFXfuvlHBc pic.twitter.com/5I6BVlEHMK
— TechnoServe (@TechnoServe) October 24, 2018
“My family and I love coffee,” Lin-Manuel Miranda said in a statement. “Coffee has been a part of Puerto Rico’s rich culture and heritage for generations. I’m thrilled that my family, with the Hispanic Federation, have been able to help create such an important initiative that supports small farmers across the Island.”
Seeing people come together to really help Puerto Rico is so amazing. This initiative isn’t just about throwing money at the problem, but rather contribute to help the people, the industry, and the coffee farmers create a sustainable product for years to come.
“Although the aftermath of the hurricanes has been devastating for the Puerto Rican coffee industry, it has also provided a unique and time-sensitive opportunity to rebuild it from the ground up in a way that is stronger and better than before,” Lin-Manuel’s dad, Luis Miranda, said in a statement. “In talking with farmers, we determined we could help them rebuild the sector smartly, resiliently, with a focus on the highest possible quality for local and international consumption.”
According to the Hispanic Federation, the coffee industry in Puerto Rico was doing really well prior to the hurricane. They say it the industry was worth up to $100 million, but after two devastating hurricanes, 80 percent of the coffee harvest and trees were destroyed.
This is how they plan to rebuild the coffee industry on the island, according to the Hispanic Federation, 1) diversifying and improving the quality of coffee seed material on the island, 2) rebuilding capacity in nurseries, 3) bringing training and best-in-field climate-smart agronomic and business practices to small farmers to elevate the production and quality of the sector, and 4) establishing a network and market opportunities for farmers.
Sounds like a successful plan to us. We can’t wait to get our hands on that coffee!