Puerto Rican unemployed urged to pick coffee beans

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico is turning to the newly surging ranks of the unemployed for help with an old problem - a shortage of coffee pickers.

Agriculture Secretary Javier Rivera Aquino says he's spoken with the labor secretary about recruiting unemployed workers for the coffee industry.

Rivera says in Tuesday's edition of newspaper El Nuevo Dia that letters will go out to the jobless encouraging them to take jobs on coffee plantations.

Puerto Rico's unemployment rate is above 14 percent higher than any U.S. state.

The island has long struggled to harvest coffee because few locals want the difficult and low-paying job of picking beans. In the past, farmers have sometimes even turned to prisoners to do the work.

Source: Associated Press

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