SAN JUAN – San Juan hosted on Saturday its firsts “Agrohack,” an event aimed at injecting new life into the island’s languishing agricultural sector by means of technology and innovation.
“We have to raise awareness about the potential of Puerto Rico’s agriculture and about what it will mean to bring in new technologies while attracting and developing talent,” Puerto Rican entrepreneur Carlos Cobian, organizer of this event attended by some 600 people at the Caribe Hilton Hotel, told EFE.
The Puerto Rican businessman, 40, noted that working the land in Puerto Rico now has its attractions, since very fertile but largely idle fields are available on an island that imports 85 percent of the food it consumes.
For that reason, Cobian decided to organize the Agrohack event, where during the day some 30 guests from the agriculture and technology sectors are giving talks on their respective areas of expertise.
“The product is in the earth. All we need to do is produce for local consumers and global consumers as well,” Cobian said.
Among the guests were the director of the Natural Resources Conservation Service for the Caribbean Area of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA-NRCS), Edwin Almodovar, along with the secretary of the Puerto Rican Agriculture Department, Maya Gomez, and prominent agronomists, business owners, executives and chefs, among other professionals.
Cobian noted that agriculture in Puerto Rico has become a big attraction, and by way of proof said that the College of Agricultural Science at the University of Puerto Rico registered 300 new students last year, raising the total number to 1,500.
This, according to Cobian, is because many young Puerto Ricans have realized that agriculture is very little exploited on the island, where 99 percent of however much is planted could be consumed.
“Agriculture was once very positive for our economy,” Cobian said, recalling that outstanding in this sector were crops of sugar cane, coffee and pineapples, among many others.