Components of the plantain commodity in Puerto Rico
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Plantain products

How to Cite

Cortés, M., & Gayol, L. (2006). Components of the plantain commodity in Puerto Rico. The Journal of Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico, 90(3-4), 237–244.


In 2005 we conducted a survey among 264 plantain producers, 73% of whom owned the farms. The average farm size was 31 ha (˜79 acres), 35% of which were cultivated. On 77% of the farms, plantain was the main crop; on 9%, coffee. Total area in plantain was 1,847 ha (˜4,695 acres). With regard to marketing, 77% of the producers sold their production to middlemen; 6%, directly. Most of the producers (71%) sold their production all year; 15%, only six months. The most important problem for 52% of the farmers was marketing. Ninety-six percent of the producers were willing to increase their production if necessary; 94% would agree to be organized. A survey representing 123 managers showed that 100% of their supermarkets buy plantains weekly, mostly from distributors and middlemen. Plantains are one of the most important products in the fresh produce section. Processed plantain is the most important among frozen products. Distributors buy plantain products from Ecuador and Costa Rica. Product size is the most important characteristic for the merchant. Retailers consider that a local industry would have potential for local consumption and also for exportation only if prices and quality were competitive. One hundred sixty consumers (82% women) were interviewed in seven municipalities in selected supermarkets. Among the interviewed, 71% said the homemaker was the one who bought the food; 60% said the homemaker was the person who decided what to buy. The average family size was three. Ninety-two percent of those interviewed bought fresh plantain; 36%, processed. Sixty-two percent mentioned not buying processed plantain; 38% bought 'tostones' and 'amarillos'. Participants indicated that they would like to buy other elaborated plantain products. Fortyfour percent mentioned that the available products were of high quality. Size and greenness were parameters of quality; 32% of those interviewed mentioned not knowing that all the fresh plantains consumed in Puerto Rico were locally produced; 94% would support a local industry of processed plantain. Most of the participants considered the fresh plantain of high quality.
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