Agricultural Route: Back to the Countryside of Puerto Rico
Public and private sectors of the Southern Region opened a panoramic route that runs through the municipalities of Salinas, Santa Isabel, Juana Diaz and Ponce.This is the first stage of an agro-tourism plan to promote awareness around the agricultural sector and products grown on the island, according to Juan Juan Santiago, president of the Agricultural College of Puerto Rico. DISUR was part of an Organizing Comitteefor the event and also participated in the press conference about initiative.The Agricultural Route is an initiative of the Agricultural Association, supported by the Department of Agriculture, the Tourism Company of Puerto Rico, the municipalities mentioned above, and farmers in the South, among others.
The route consists of 56.2 kilometers along Highway PR-1, where visitors can appreciate the different stages of production and harvests of six main farms. Throughout the year, farmers grow at least 25 types of vegetables, fruits, starch vegetables, and grain. According to Javier Rivera Aquino, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Agricultural tourism is a global trend. Santiago added that most of the commercial farming operations in Puerto Rico are in the municipalities that make up this route, contributing $89.6 million to the gross agricultural income of the island. Of this total, the vegetable sector in these municipalities generates $30 million. Moreover, among the farmers in the area are renowned for their high quality produce and several export to the U.S., Europe and Japan.