Latino fruit growers push for capital, credit

Members of the Washington State Mexican Fruit Growers Coalition met with state legislators in Olympia earlier this month to discuss financial and economic issues the coalition says is adversely impacting Mexican fruit growers in Washington state.

The root of the problems stems from Mexican fruit growers not being able to secure lines of credit or long-term financing from lending institutions.

The coalition claims that the inability to obtain long-term financing is causing a significant and negative impact to the economic health and well being of Latino/Hispanic fruit growers in the state as well as the local communities they live in.

The purpose of the meeting with state legislators in Olympia was to get this message across, according to a press release from the Washington State Mexican Fruit Growers Coalition.

The coalition told the lawmakers that if something isn't done to help Hispanic fruit growers to access lines of credit and loans, then many of the coalition's members will be forced to go out of business in the next 12 months.

The coalition also expressed concern to lawmakers about news reports regarding unfair treatment and discrimination against Latino and Hispanic farmers, especially concerning the lack of access to USDA loans and disaster assistance.

As a result of this, the Washington State Mexican Fruit Growers Coalition is urgently requesting assistance from legislators and other agencies to help locate credit, capital and other funding options to resolve these issues.

What the coalition would like to see is lenders structuring their credit and utilizing government loan guarantees to help Latino/Hispanic fruit growers in Washington. The coalition would also like to find appropriate state and federal programs that would provide financial assistance or credit for Latino/Hispanic fruit growers.

The coalition is predicting a major agricultural crisis if solutions aren't soon found.


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