THE government this week launched a new program aimed at helping indebted small and medium banana growers get back on their feet.
Through the program, banana growers will have access to $75 million in credit for debt restructuring and $15 million to improve their productive capacity, according to President Abel Pacheco’s Economic Council.
The program’s main objective is to keep the largest possible number of banana producers operating. In recent years, bad weather and flooding in the eastern province of Limón – where most of the country’s bananas are grown – and low international prices, have hurt the banana sector.
Last year, improved international prices and good weather helped the sector recover. However, many producers, particularly small and medium ones, have yet to financially recover and remain heavily indebted, according to the council.
On Monday, the qualifying committee of the National Banana Corporation (CORBANA) studied and awarded its first credit to a small banana producer in the Caribbean-slope town of Matina.
“The importance of this is that we saved more than 190 jobs,” said Romano Orlich, president of CORBANA. “We hope to save 21 businesses, which represent 7,000 hectares of banana.”