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Friday, October 31 2014 @ 08:46 AM EDT

Today The Government Will Define The Future of COOSEMUPAR

Employment & Jobs
Bananas Are (Were) Big Business in Panama
Bananas Are (Were) Big Business in Panama
By FLOR BOCHAREL in Puerto Armuelles, CHIRIQUÍ for La Prensa - Today, the evaluation commission to define the future of the Multiple Services Cooperative of Puerto Armuelles Fruit Company (Coosemupar) will announce if the only company interested in buying the banana business, Centro de Distribución de Toscana (CEDIT), complies with the guidelines established or not. After the time allowed for the submission of proposals, the lawyer Enzo Polo, who represents the companies Agro K and Boquerón Trading, who withdrew their bids, says that CEDIT is not qualified to participate because it owes money to Coosemupar for fruit sold through the Agricultural Commodity Exchange years ago. In that sense, the national director of Bananas, Roberto Santamaria, said the existing claims between Coosemupar and CEDIT will be addressed in two areas, the claims for current accounts for the purchase and sale of fruit and claims for damaged fruit, that were either not purchased (rejected) or not delivered, but he explained that on these topics there is no pending litigation. On Tuesday the government will make its official announcement on whether the company will manage the banana business, in David at 8:00 am.

Jose Elias Gonzalez, one of the Coosemupar delegates, said the approval process and the submission of documents was transparent and he said that the companies who failed to submit their bids did so because they wanted to "fish in troubled waters and a business like this requires a company that is solvent and with market experience."

In Barú there are about 3,000 hectares of banana production areas, and more than a year ago exportations of the fruit stopped due to the plantations being affected by the Black Sigatoka fungus and a lack of money for maintenance of the plantations. The government of Martín Torrijos continued subsidizing the banana workers while seeking investors to raise their production and the economy.

Today the hopes of the 2,800 banana workers and their families lay with the announcement that will be made by the evaluation commission and the Panamanian Autonomous Cooperative Institute in David, because their families' livelihoods and dignity depend on it. Workers in the area are going through a grave economic crisis due to the loss of jobs in the banana plantations. Coosemupar, which manages the banana plantations in the area, is in deep financial crisis that has kept the production of bananas on the floor.

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