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Main Banana Discussion This is where we discuss our banana collections; tips on growing bananas, tips on harvesting bananas, sharing our banana photos and stories.


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Old 01-28-2009, 01:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Panama banana companies dying

Our member Ariel, a friend from Israel, posted this in a Yahoo discussion group but forgot about us!

Source: Panama banana companies dying :: La Estrella :: laestrella.com.pa :: Panamá :: 2009


Quote:
Panama banana companies dying

01-27-2009 | OVIDIO LORENZO

The government has invested more than $30 million in them, to no avail
Panama Star Puerto Armuelles has 3,000 hectares of fertile land planted with banana trees, but nobody is tending them since the transnational United Fruit Company left the area after a dispute.

The Panamanian government said that they have received al least 8 proposals from different bidders to acquire the land and continue to exploit the banana plantations.But so far it has not accepted any of them.

Another company wants to grow oil palms in the 3,000 hectares The only problem is the 2,800 workers. The oil plantation needs the services of only one man for every eight hectares, which means that 1,800 men would lose their jobs. The workers just want the government to make a decision and sell the land. At the moment the only operation benefiting is the workers union, still collecting dues from its members.
Here might be an opportunity for someone who is frustrated trying to grow bananas in zone 7!

Harvey
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

¡Ay! ¡Ay! ¡Ay! ¡Que lastima! Anybody want to join me in a bailout of these plantations?
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:21 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

Wouldn't that be something!?
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Old 01-28-2009, 03:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

"Here might be an opportunity for someone who is frustrated trying to grow bananas in zone 7!"

Oh ,you're a riot Harvey!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-28-2009, 04:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

Quote:
Originally Posted by chong View Post
¡Ay! ¡Ay! ¡Ay! ¡Que lastima! Anybody want to join me in a bailout of these plantations?
oh to have the cash to bailout the bananas!!!!!!! i wouldnt mind living there. will work for nanas!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:54 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

Jarred - How many members do we have? Wouldn't it be nice if a Bananas.com co-op could run a 7500 acre banana plantation?
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

Quote:
Originally Posted by john_ny View Post
Jarred - How many members do we have? Wouldn't it be nice if a Bananas.com co-op could run a 7500 acre banana plantation?
What a novel idea!!!
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Old 01-28-2009, 11:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

Atatatatai! Que pena indeed, Chong.

I think if we can we should totally run it as a coop.
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Bananas Brindando Re: Panama banana companies dying

I could set up and run the concession hut....banana margeritas anyone?
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Old 01-29-2009, 01:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

Has Panama disease been eliminated there yet? I'm bent on tasting a Gros Michel before my times up!

Jack,make mine a double.
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Old 01-29-2009, 02:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

The article doesn't address the underlying cause of the problems. Has union labor there made production elsewhere cheaper? There has been other discussions of higher banana prices so I'm figuring there is either a problem with disease or higher operating expenses there.

Rather than for a co-operative, I think I'd prefer us split it up each have our own little piece of the pie. Too many co-operatives have been plagued by disagreements among it's owners with a different set of values and interests.
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Old 01-29-2009, 03:34 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

Could we use banana bucks to buy this place?
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Old 01-29-2009, 08:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

Si es que muy pena y lastima. It is sad but these shake ups are beneficial to the overall market in the long term, as market forces adjust.

I would not rush to buy them or buy into them.
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Old 01-29-2009, 09:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

John NY - I like your thinking!!!

It's the ***** United Fruit Company again!!! Somebody shoot those guys for the damage and heartache they have caused around the nana growing regions!
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Old 01-30-2009, 12:23 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

Plantation Co-op? Banana shaped name tags for everyone!
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Old 01-30-2009, 09:10 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

Harvey, I'm going to disagree with you on this one. In South and Central America, cooperative land-ownership and growth management is an extremely common and feasable way to run things like this. Given the enthusiastic response of the membership so far, it would be quite simple to set up a coop under a well-written set of bylaws and proceed smoothly with this kind of venture.

Although, I will say that I would want full soil microbe testing and a disease-history of the region before anything other than rumbled beginnings of a plan take form. As for the collapse of the markets - people will always need to eat.
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Old 01-30-2009, 06:44 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

I spent 25 years working for the largest agricultural lending institution in the U.S., which itself is a cooperative. I am now a member of one of its local cooperative associations which is operating well. This institution loans funds to farmers, ranchers, nursery operators, etc. as well as marketing and processing cooperatives. Many cooperatives did well but many did very poorly. Many farmers lost fortunes in these cooperatives when they went bankrupt, not getting paid for their crops and losing their equity investments. California Canners & Growers, Tri-Valley Growers, Guild Winery, and Rice Growers Association are just a few cooperatives I've had some extensive experience with. The failures of this cooperatives caused great hardships for many of these farmers and some went out of business themselves.

Some fundamental problems agricultural marketing and processing cooperatives face are:
(1) Retaining adequate capital and running the operation like a business. Member farmers want to get paid the maximum they can for their crop and this will often result in poor liquidity and capital in the cooperative, making survival difficult.
(2) Limiting production to levels that can be handled and marketed efficiently and profitably. Growers will typically want to maximize production in hopes of maximizing their own personal profit even in times of surplus production and low crop prices. The mentality is "let someone else cut production". The cooperative if owned by the growers, so management and the board find it difficult to set policies to limit production.
(3) Maintaining a quality product. Management and the board are often reluctant to institute policies that penalize growers adequately to discourage delivery of inferior products. The end product, as a result, also suffers.

Besides the problems above, a cooperative of IBS members would be faced with additonal challenges. Some members would want production to be all organic. Some would want production to maximize yields and profits. Some would want the operation to turn out to be a good financial investment while some would want the operation to benefit the local native population. Some would want production to include diverse varieties while others would want to select only proven high-yielding varieties with satisfactory market acceptance. Some members would be in the position to provide substantial capital to start the cooperative while others would be challenged to come up with more than $100.

If you get your cooperative off the ground and keep it running for five years I would honestly be amazed but, in all sincerety, I wish you the best of luck.

Harvey
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Old 01-30-2009, 07:23 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

I really didn't intend this to be a deep serious discussion; it was a joke - 7500 acres would take a lot of bucks, even in Panama.
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Old 01-30-2009, 08:37 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Panama banana companies dying

John, I knew it was a joke with you ... except maybe on the condition you could use your banana bucks for the purchase . It did seem that lorax took it seriously, though, and I am such a gloomy guy (warning, that's a joke also) I figured I'd offer my forecast of success.

This reminded me almost immediately of a conversation I had with an aunt about 10 years ago. She is one of my father's nine siblings and she made mention of how some day all 28 of us grandchildren would own the farm once owned by my grandparents. I told her that scared me as some of us would probably like to farm it, some would like to develop it to housing, some might want it to be a wildlife preserve. She agreed with me instantly and said the brothers and sisters needed to discuss this right away. They sold the farm a few years ago and I did consider purchasing it, but it would have been a bit of a financial challenge. Today, I wish I had bought it. My wife is my partner and we get along really swell.
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