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Thursday, June 20 2019 @ 03:44 AM UTC

U.S. Embassy and Riba Smith Inaugurate Project in Emberá-Wounaan Comarca

Groups & Organizations The United States Embassy, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and in collaboration with the leaders of the Emberá-Wounaan Comarca, inaugurated the first plantain collection and preparation plant in the Río Chico region in Darién. During the ceremony, the consolidation of the commercial pact between the communities and the Riba Smith supermarkets for the supplying of plantains was also celebrated.

Dan Smolka, Director of USAID-Panama said “This plant will allow growers in the region to place their goods in bigger markets and sell more. This way, there will be more jobs and more resources for the community.” The Director added that “The Riba Smith supermarkets are excellent clients and we hope others join the list.”

Since the beginning of the Sustainable Community Forestry Program in Darien in 2010, the USAID has offered technical and entrepreneurial assistance to the plantain growers of the Emberá-Wounaan Comarca. With the use of technology in the production and harvest processes, a better quality and quantity of products is obtained. Around 14,000 plantains are sold to Riba Smith supermarkets on a monthly basis, and between 8,000 and 12,000 plantains per week are sold to the farmer’s market in Panama City. This alternative and environmentally-friendly activity has generated bigger incomes for growers and their families, which is part of the Panamanian Government and USAID’s strategy to promote the preservation of biodiversity and the sustainable use of natural resources in the Darién region.

The USAID is commemorating its 50 years in Panama, during which it has contributed to the country’s development through infrastructure projects, as well as programs in the agricultural, health and education sectors. All the USAID development activities have been implemented in collaboration with the government of Panama and have improved the lives of millions of Panamanians across the country. Due to the extraordinary accomplishments and Panama’s robust economic growth, the USAID mission in Panama will be phasing out this year. However, local institutions or new public-private partnerships will offer continuity to many of the programs. Since 1962, the USAID has contributed over a billion dollars for Panama’s development. Even after USAID closes its doors, the U.S. Embassy anticipates a continued commitment in matters of development and cooperation to face the coming challenges in a joint fashion. (US Embassy Panama Press Release)

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