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Saturday, May 25 2019 @ 11:13 AM UTC

Panamanian Banana Producers Give Away 50,000 Boxes of Fruit

Money Matters La Prensa - Panamanian banana producers have given away 50,000 boxes of fruit and are prepared to give away an additional 100,000 boxes if they do not obtain a better price from the Chiquita Brands International. Salustiano de Gracia, the Secretary General of the Chiriquí Land Co Worker's Union (Sitrachilco), declared they prefer to give the bananas away for free to Panamanians rather than sell them to "an unjust company that defends an anachronistic monopoly that must arrive at its end." The company, which has been installed in Panama for 87 years, has been paying to the Puerto Armuelles Multiple Services Cooperative (Coosemupar), the main local banana producer which is represented by Sitrachilco, $5.00 per 20 kilo box boxfive dollars by the box of 20 kilos of export quality bananas, delivered to the pier. (more)

Editor's Comment: Coosemupar and Sitrachilco have been losing money practically since they took over the banana plantations formerly owned by Chiquita. The Panamanian government has been subsidizing their cooperative for years with millions of dollars. So, in effect, Panamanian taxpayers are giving money to Chiquita in order to keep the banana workers employed. Chiquita is buying the bananas at $5.00 per box from the Panamanian producers and selling them on the international market for substantial profits. So, in effect (again) Panamanian taxpayers are providing Chiquita with profits. This action to give away 50,000 boxes of bananas which they could have sold for $500,000 has to have been supported by the administration of Martin Torrijos as a way to break the will of Chiquita and to force them to raise the price they are paying. And it makes sense to just give the bananas away to Panamanians rather than to continue to give them to Chiquita at a loss so the company can make money. The deal with the Panamanian banana producers is not fair.

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"We lose $2.18 for each box we deliver because of our production costs. We are the only ones that, the more we export, the more we lose," said De Gracia.

The workers have asked for a revision of the exclusive contract which was signed in 2003 with Chiquita for ten years, to adjust the price paid to fit current global economic conditions and to increase the price paid per box to $8.00.

"We are also affected by increases in the price of petroleum and materials. We are working to give the product to the company as a gift," said De Gracia.

He added that Panama's President Martin Torrijos is aware of the situation and that he has promised to endorse their demands, which are being studied by the Consumer Protection Authority for monopoly, in their next meeting with the leadership of Chiquita.

"Our position is firm. We will not sell more fruit to Chiquita if they do not improve the price," said De Gracia.

exportación.continúa conflicto con chiquita.

Regalan 50 mil cajas de banano

Los productores están dispuestos a regalar 100 mil cajas más si no consiguen un mejor precio.

La multinacional Chiquita Brands está instalada en Panamá desde hace 87 años.

CIUDAD DE PANAMÁ

ACAN-EFE

Los productores de banano panameño han regalado 50 mil cajas de fruta y están dispuestos a regalar 100 mil más si no consiguen un mejor precio de la transnacional Chiquita, única empresa exportadora en Panamá, aseguraron ayer a Acan-Efe.

Salustiano de Gracia, secretario general del Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Chiriquí Land Co. (Sitrachilco), declaró que prefieren regalar el banano a los panameños que a "una empresa injusta que defiende un monopolio anacrónico que debe llegar a su fin".

La empresa, instalada en Panamá desde hace 87 años, paga a la Cooperativa de Servicios Múltiples de Puerto Armuelles (Coosemupar), principal productor local, representado por Sitrachilco, cinco dólares por la caja de 20 kilos de banano de exportación, puesta en el muelle.

"En cada caja -explicó De Gracia- perdemos 2.18 dólares, según nuestros costos de producción. Somos los únicos que, cuanto más exportamos, más perdemos", agregó.

Los trabajadores han solicitado una revisión del contrato de exclusividad con la empresa, firmado en 2003, por diez años, para ajustar el precio a la situación económica mundial y aumentarlo hasta los ocho dólares.

"A nosotros también nos afecta la subida del petróleo y el encarecimiento de los insumos. Estamos trabajando para regalarle el producto a la empresa", enfatizó el sindicalista.

De Gracia agregó que el propio presidente de la República, Martín Torrijos, está al tanto de la situación y que ha prometido respaldar sus planteamientos, bajo estudio en la Autoridad de Protección al Consumidor y Defensa de la Competencia, por monopolio, en una próxima reunión con la dirección de la multinacional.

"Nuestra posición es firme. No vendemos más fruta a Chiquita si no mejoran el precio", dijo De Gracia.

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