Panama's president signs US$100M Del Monte banana contract

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Panama's president signs US$100M Del Monte banana contract

Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela last week signed the contact between the state and produce company Del Monte, allowing the multinational to invest more than US$100 million in reactivating banana production. 

The investment would be made over several years by Del Monte subsidiary Banapiña in the western provinces of Chiriqui and Bocas del Toro, according to publication Terra.

Varela said the deal would generate more than 3,100 direct jobs and 12,000 indirect ones and once implemented, the operation would involve "a production of 900 hectares per year, with an average annual productivity of 2,275 boxes of bananas per hectare."

"We will revive the region economically and socially with this investment (from Del Monte) and the almost 200 million dollars that we are investing in the district of Baru," he was quoted as saying.

The growing regions in question are described as having significant unemployment rates.

The deal, which the National Assembly approved in April, was endorsed by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic and has a duration of 20 years.

The story reported that up until March 2008, Chiquita Brands had a monopoly on the marketing of bananas in the district of Baru.

However, the company decided to abandon this business and transfer it to the farm workers, who were grouped in a cooperative called Coosemupar, the story said. Unfortunately, they were unable to relaunch the sector.

Del Monte, has been interested in investing in Baru since 2009, it added.


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