Hurricanes Irma and Maria combined destroyed about 80 percent of crops in Puerto Rico.
The damage is so heavy that one farmer told the Seattle Times there is “no more agriculture” on the island. Across the island, Maria’s took out entire plantations and destroyed dairy barns and industrial chicken coops.
Plantain, banana, and coffee crops were the hardest hit. The island suffered a loss of $780 million in agriculture yields, according to Puerto Rico officials. Hurricane Georges in 1998 wiped out about 65 percent of crops and Hurricane Irma, which only grazed the island, took out about $45 million in agriculture production.
For more than 400 years, Puerto Rico’s economy was based on agriculture, historically focused on sugar cane, tobacco and citrus fruits. However, that changed after World War II. Puerto Rico now imports about 85 percent of its food, and its food imports are expected to rise drastically.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.
Image Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center