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Colombian bananas could lose European and US markets due to drug trafficking
Colombia is at risk of losing access to the banana market in Europe and the United States because of drug trafficking. The contamination of cocaine in banana boxes is a threat to the economy of the Urabá region. That is why Europe and the United States may stop buying from Colombia if drugs continue to arrive in the fruit's shipments.
In the Colombian Caribbean, the task force against drug trafficking, Neptuno, has seized 34 tonnes of cocaine so far in 2018. Part of that has been found in containers and in banana boxes that are exported from Colombia to the United States and Europe. The union of banana workers is concerned that the issue could end up affecting the economy of the Urabá region.
"At the moment, there is a very strong pressure in Europe and supermarket buyers are asking not to consume or buy any more fruit from Colombia due to the drug trafficking issue," said Gilberto Torres Espitia, vice president of Sintrainagro.
According to the Anti-narcotics Police, their suspects break the seals placed on the doors of the containers; they then introduce the packages, hiding them with the legal cargo, and then close the container and place fake seals.
"We have declared ourselves victims of a crime that gives our subregion a very bad press. It also taints the reputation of the export processes in the banana sector," said Juan Camilo Restrepo, president of Augura.
The banana sector is very important, because it generates more than 800 million dollars of foreign currency for Colombia, as well as 23,000 direct jobs and 120,000 indirect jobs. 70% of the economy in the Urabá region relies on the banana agro-industry.
Currently, the anti-narcotics police are carrying out more rigorous controls on the containers and on the fruit intended for export.
Publication date: 7/2/2018
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