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Panama 12/06/2020

La Dona Fruit readies for European demand

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One of the leading producer and exporter of fresh golden pineapples and tropical fruits in Latin America – announces its readiness to satisfy European demand for MD2 pineapples from Panama this summer, after adapting the business to mitigate the global coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

 

La Dona has introduced additional strict hygiene measures to protect workers at its pineapple farm in La Chorrera, Panama. the company has heightened its hygiene and security requirements, providing training to its 70+ staff as part of its Covid-19 mitigation plan. The company is proud to have retained its workforce throughout the pandemic, and no employees have contracted the disease. Vergara points out: “We’re taking everyone’s temperatures, everyone is wearing face masks, we’re stopping to wash hands every two hours, and we’re documenting anyone coming onto the farm. As of June, working hours are back up to the full 45 hours a week, after initially reducing to 32 hours for a period to comply with the local lockdown.”

 

Where necessary, alternative airfreight and seafreight capacity has been secured quickly to guarantee the continuity of exports. The Director of Pineapple Operations, Paul Vergara, explains that volumen has remained steady. They are exporting over 60 tonnes of pineapples a week by air and sea to retailers and wholesalers across Europ. The brand stands out on the market in Europe and the United Arab Emirates for its plant-ripened, premium quality, airfreighted pineapples. As the business expands, the team is evaluating seafreight technologies that would enable its high-colour, high-maturity pineapples to arrive in optimum condition by sea.

 

Despite the pandemic, fruit quality and export volume remain consistent thanks to the resilience and adaptability of the workforce and its leaders.As usual, this year La Dona is offering superior quality pineapples versus its competitors. Vergara affirms: “Panama receives enough rainfall and sunlight for pineapple production to be really effective, and for quality to be better, in my opinion. By comparison, Costa Rica receives 40 percent more rainfall annually, so their fruit has a higher water content. Our pineapples contain less water, yet they still have a high sugar content, which produces more flavour. We have a bigger quality distinction."       

 

Vergara comments: “It’s going to be a strange year, and difficult to predict week by week. Europeans usually consume local produce over the summer, while pineapple consumption rises again from September onwards. But anything could happen this summer, especially if some countries do have issues finding enough workers to pick local fruit. As always, at La Dona we remain ready to respond to any supply-demand situation in the market.”

 

In addition to renewing its GlobalGAP certificate, in late February La Dona’s pineapple farm in Panama achieved HACCP accreditation in official recognition of its social responsibility efforts. Next, the firm is exploring other standards, such as Primus and SMETA, in line with the growth of its European retail business.

 

About la Dona Fruit

 

La Dona Fruit is one of the leading producer and exporter of fresh golden pineapples and tropical fruits in Latin America, bringing customers great taste, quality and superior produce. Founded in 1977 by Edna Vergara, La Dona Fruit has grown from a one-acre family farm in the coastal lowlands of Panama to a thriving export business; having partnered with Colombia-headquartered agribusiness management firm Farmfolio in 2018.

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Oscar Baracaldo

Email: oscarb@ladonafruit.com

 

 

 

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