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Panama: Del Monte to invest more than 100 million dollars to revive the banana production area

Yesterday, Panama's parliament approved, in the third and last debate, a contract law that will allow a company of the US Del Monte group to invest more than 100 million dollars in the reactivation of the country's banana area.

The contract with the Banapiña de Panama SA company, which received the unanimous support of the plenary of the National Assembly (AN-Parliament), has a duration of twenty years that can be automatically renewed for an additional twenty years in the same terms and conditions, not including the tax exemptions, which will be reviewed by the State at the end of the first period.

The contract, which has already been endorsed by the General Comptroller, includes the lease of land and its preparation for planting, agricultural activities for growing bananas and / or plantains, the installation of irrigation systems, the construction of infrastructure for the packaging and export of the fruit, and any other improvements necessary for the development of the banana industry.

The project, which will include some 5,804 hectares, will be implemented in stages at a rate of approximately 900 hectares, in parallel with the execution of the investments required in the construction of buildings and facilities for the operation of the project, according to official information.

The initiative, it is estimated, will produce an average of 2,725 boxes of bananas per hectare per year.

Up until March 2008, Chiquita Brands had a banana marketing monopoly in the Baru district. However, they decided to abandon the business and transfer it to farm workers, who were grouped in a cooperative called Coosemupar. Unfortunately, they were unable to relaunch the sector.

Del Monte has been interested in investing in Baru since 2009. In mid-April of that year, it started to negotiate an agreement to manage the banana plantations for 25 years with the government of then-President Martin Torrijos (2004-2009); however, they didn't reach an agreement.

Source: EFE

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