The Coalition for Food Security Puerto Rico (CFSPR) represents nonprofits, businesses, trade associations and other allies in the U.S. and Puerto Rico that are advocating for equitable nutrition aid for island residents.
The CFSPR actively supports including the Puerto Rico Nutrition Assistance Fairness Act (H.R.253/ S.949) in the 2023 Farm Bill. The proposed legislation outlines a clear structure and timeline for transitioning the island from its current Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP) to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which presently benefits residents in the continental U.S., Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.
Given the timeline for the transition, the bill does not require congressional appropriations for SNAP participation during the immediate transition period.
In 2019, Puerto Rico spent $6.5 billion on top food and beverage commodities.
For more than 20 years, Puerto Rico has imported 75% of the food and beverage consumed on the island from the U.S. Therefore, Puerto Rico’s inclusion in SNAP directly benefits the overall U.S. economy.
Puerto Rico is a major importer of meats, grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Key commodities move from all across the U.S., primarily from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Kentucky in the South; Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, and the Dakotas in the Midwest; California and Texas in the West; and New York, Massachusetts and Vermont in the Northeast.
Puerto Rico’s legislative bodies (House and Senate) are supportive of transitioning Puerto Rico from NAP to SNAP and are preparing statutory language for the transition.
Given the anticipated length of the transition, the sooner Congress acts on the legislation for Puerto Rico’s participation in SNAP, the faster the Puerto Rico government can plan for the transition.
Transitioning the island to SNAP will require investments in technology and workforce training. The government of Puerto Rico is prepared to develop a multiyear comprehensive budget to address these requirements.
For decades, U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico have been excluded from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that all other U.S. citizens are entitled to and benefit from. As a result, U.S. citizens on the island struggle daily with food insecurity and poverty. The disparities and inequities created and sustained by Puerto Rico’s exclusion from SNAP must end. We call for legislative action to integrate Puerto Rico into SNAP. Let’s be fair.