Carlos Garcia Rawlins | Reuters
Women carry containers filled with water as workers use a backhoe loader to remove mud and debris from the street after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico September 24, 2017.
Hurricane Maria left the agricultural industry on Puerto Rico in a shambles after dragging across the U.S. territory as a Category 4 storm last week, according to The New York Times.
About 80 percent of the crop value on the island is gone, according to Carlos Flores Ortega, Puerto Rico’s secretary of Agriculture. The department’s preliminary figures estimate a $780 million loss in agriculture yields across the territory.
Trees are stripped of both leaves and bark, with entire fields simply bare, blown away by Maria’s unrelenting winds. The Times reported that it only took a matter of hours for the storm to become one of the costliest in the history of the island’s agriculture industry.
Crops of banana, plantain and coffee were damaged the most, Agriculture department officials told the newspaper. Infrastructure for livestock, including chicken coops and dairy barns, were destroyed and entire plantations are gone.
Due to Puerto Rico’s ongoing economic recession, the island imports around 85 percent of its food for consumption, the Times said.
Read the full report from The New York Times here.