On June 2017, the Puerto Rico Techno Economic Corridor, Inc. (PRTEC) announced a new public private partnership initiative and the creation of a business incubator for young farmers and agricultural science students in Isabela, the Finca Explora Program: Agribusiness Incubator and Processing Center.
One of its partners is the Monsanto Company, who contributed 120 acres of land and buildings with an estimated value of $1 million, located in their former Isabela Research Station, as well as provide technical consulting to ensure the program’s success.
Less than a year after the announcement, three projects have completed Finca Explora’s acceleration program, which are Duamed Colón’s Agrotropical; Reinaldo Acevedo’s Agriwest; and Carlos Torres’s Empresas Torres.
Another 15 projects are currently participating in the incubation program, 12 of which are in the final phase of elaborating their business plans. Once completed, Finca Explora will proceed to distribute acres of land to these projects, which will then begin to plant crops such as sweet corn, sweet potato, taro, pineapple, passion fruit, peppers, white beans, squash, as well as cover crops, vegetables, and species. All 18 agricultural start-ups are currently operating in a total of 80 acres of land in Isabela and Aguadilla.
Isabela is Monsanto’s second home in Puerto Rico. For more than 30 years, the company operated there, and we are delighted to continue collaborating and contributing to what were our neighboring communities. Through the Finca Explora Program we have the opportunity to continue our legacy of support for Municipality of Isabela, and the northwestern region of Puerto Rico. We appreciate the opportunity that PRTEC has extended to us to make this program a reality and reaffirm our commitment to agriculture in Puerto Rico.
– Agro. Eric Torres, FTO Manager at Monsanto Caribe
Finca Explora was no stranger to the devastation caused by Hurricane María. During the past few months, the program has been working closely with the Municipality of Isabela the University of Puerto Rico’s Experimental Agricultural Station, and Monsanto to rehabilitate and prepare the farm. Monsanto, through its volunteer program Monsanto Together, transferred 17 company employees to Finca Explora’s facilities in Isabela to help paint the organization’s buildings.
Agriculture is our reason for being, our mission and our passion. We reaffirm our commitment to collaborate with the development of agriculture – in Puerto Rico and around the world – offering farmers the tools and solutions they need. To the projects that culminated the acceleration program, congratulations, and to the projects working the incubation program, godspeed.
– Miguel Pereira, Monsanto’s Puerto Rico Community Affairs Manager
In addition to providing the land, Finca Explora provides business mentoring and technical assistance, and support in agricultural operational issues. For these purposes, Finca Explora has an Advisory Board comprised of experts in the agricultural field, including Eric Torres, FTO Manager at Monsanto Caribe. Other strategic partners of the program include: The University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, the Municipality of Isabela, United States Department of Agriculture, Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture, and others.
Finca Explora’s future plans include working on energy and environmental self-sufficiency projects through the installation of solar panels, the rehabilitation of an existing water well on the property, and the installation of a water cistern.
For more information or to start a project with the Finca Explora Program, please call 787-834-5700 or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit www.prteconline.comor follow their business on Facebook® at facebook.com/prtecsocial.