Panama bananas

Panama’s government has ordered the liquidation of Panamanian banana cooperative Coosemupar following months of uncertainty about the fate of the troubled company, which has reported debts totalling US$40m.

According to a report in Panamanian newspaper Crítica, the decision can be traced back to March 2004 when the country’s authorities seized control of Coosemupar as a result of administrative anomalies, including an absence of company accounts.

The publication said that in spite of the government’s efforts to improve the running and operation of Coosemupar’s plantations and a search for alternative means of selling its products through other companies, the group’s losses continued to worsen.

In turn, the worsening economic situation of the company led to the decline of plantations and an increase in the occurrence of banana disease sigatoka, which caused the effective collapse of production at Coosemupar.

The government told the newspaper that the state of Coosemupar’s finances meant that it was unable to fulfil any of its commitments, with the decay in the group’s plantations meaning that any such recovery is effectively impossible.

The Panamanian authorities have estimated that it would have cost between US$50m and US$62m to reactivate Coosemupar’s 3,000ha of banana production.