Over the last decade, the farming and agricultural markets of Puerto Rico have been dying out with the innovations in farming techniques and technology. With the increase in the way the agricultural market now works, there is a decrease in the number of operating farms and farm hands. Some farms have perfected the process already and were able to produce a higher output year after year for every harvest that has effectively taken half of the industry out of business.
For us, this is one of the small number of times that we have regretted lending a company a significant amount of funds. The farms who were more successful and upgraded their tools and equipment had applied for loans and financing through us, and we had given millions to farmers to help them increase their productivity.
Originally, we had done it as a favour to the governors of several districts, and we had tried to be fair with the loans. We did not anticipate the drive of growth that would ensue from the investments. We initially thought that the overall production rate would increase by 26-27% due to the overall size of the lands and the contracts that the farms had already owned. But because some of the upgrades were so extensive, the acceleration in growth was much higher than anticipated.
We did not initially want to take farmers out of business. The working class have always been an important part of the state, and for many areas like ours we consider the working class to be the most respected because they are the ones who use their hands every day rather than us who work in offices. We consider them to be the most important people of the area because they are the ones who work for us. Now, it is our burden to do what we can to help.