Yesterday, the Panamanian government presented to the National Assembly (AN-Parliament) a contract allowing the transnational De Monte company to invest more than 100 million dollars in the reactivation of the country's banana area.
The initiative, which will be presented by the Minister of the Presidency, Alvaro Aleman, will generate about 3,100 direct jobs and about 12,000 indirect ones for the "reactivation of this commercial activity through the Banapiña de Panama SA company," stated the Government.
"According to the contract signed by the Comptroller General of the Republic, Banapiña de Panama SA will make a minimum investment of 100 million dollars in a term that does not exceed seven years," according to official information.
The contract will last for 20 years and it will be automatically renewable for the same period of time under the same terms and conditions, except for tax exemptions, which must be reviewed by the State at the end of the contract's first period.
"This initiative will have an immediate impact in the districts of Baru and Alanje in the province of Chiriqui (West) while the province of Bocas del Toro will be in the district of Chiriquí Grande," the government stated.
The contract 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 will be implemented in stages, at a rate of 900 hectares per year. In parallel, the company will execute the required investments and construct the buildings and facilities needed for its operation.
According to the government, the sector is expected to have an average productivity of 2.725 boxes of bananas per hectare per year. On April 5, Juan Carlos Varela, the President of Panama urged the Parliament to approve the contract with Del Monte to revive the banana industry after the Comptroller's office endorsed the agreement.
"Today we take a new step for the reactivation of banana plantations. We must all work united, avoiding politicizing a subject that is a matter of State. We expect the full support of the (National) Assembly of Deputies," the president said.