Panama Golden Pineapple II
Premium Pineapple Just 40 Minutes from the Panama Canal
During the course of 2018, Farmfolio and its steam injected $2,200,000 USD into the partnership and successfully developed 51 net effective hectares of Pineapple. The existing property currently encompasses 117 hectares of land, in which the General Partner is seeking expansion of 60 hectares, which will net a total of 15 hectares of effective production. The expansion is supported by increased demand coming from the Chinese market, which has recently completed a free-trade agreement with Panama.
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Political Risk — Low (9 out of 10)
The politics of Panama take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic with multi-party system, whereby the President of Panama is both head of state and head of government. Executive power is exercised by the president. Legislative power is vested in the National Assembly. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The branches are according to Panama’s Political Constitution of 1972, reformed by the Actos Reformatorios of 1978 and the Acto Constitucional of 1983, united in cooperation and limited through a system of checks and balances. Given Panama’s established democracy, global trade relationships, and unique location, Panama is considered to be one of the most Politically stable countries in the Region.
Currency Risk — Low (10 of 10)
Panama is a dollar based economy, thus it’s risk of currency fluctuations are based on the United States Federal Reserve policy.
Climate Risk — Moderately Low (8 of 10)
The farm property of Panama Golden Pineapple, LP is located on the Pacific coast of Panama, approximately 30 kilometers inland. Extreme weather is very rare as the Pacific coast of Panama is not in the path of traditional hurricane flows. In addition, there is not history of ocean flooding reaching this far inland. The risks related to climate are more focused on drought. Chorrera experiences a normal dry season from late December-April. Pineapple requires significant amounts of water and without a water supply the production could be affected. The current property has significant water reserves and is considered to be protected against extended dry season. The main water source is feed by an underground spring and surface water. In case of emergency there is a well available to pump underground water to the reservoir. Another factor is sunlight. Pineapple requires adequate sunlight in order to grow to the desired size for export. Historically, Chorerra has been a consistent in its sunlight production and is one of the primary drivers in the large plantations being located here.
Management Risk — Low (10 of 10)
The management company, Verba Odrec SA, has a 17-year history in the production and export of Pineapple. The company has numerous certifications for both farming techniques and export standards, thus they present a minimal risk of negligence or mis-management. The team is led by Edna Vergara, whom is one of the most successful women in Panamanian agriculture and her son Paul Vergara. Verba Odrec SA has agreed to a 10-year management contract with PGP, LP, which limits the turnover of employees and administration.
Financial Risk — Low (10 of 10)
The purchased property will be cleared of all outstanding debts and the operation is not expected to utilize leverage in the operations. The leased property is under contract for 5 years with a guaranteed renewal to 10 years and the options for cancelation are determined by General Partner. The financial risk would only be added in the event that the production missed expectation and debt needed to be used to finance short term operations.
Edna Vergara (La Dona)
Edna Vergara is a pioneer in pineapple export in Panama with decades of experience in Latin America’s agribusiness sector. In 1977, Edna Vergara began her agricultural journey with one hectare of land and a vision that would change the landscape of Panamanian agriculture forever. Originally a poultry farmer with her husband, Edna began experimenting with several exotic fruits and vegetables on a small tract of land on the outskirts of Panama. Most of the produce was sold at farmer markets and the proceeds were used to keep the operation going. After several seasons, Edna read about a new variety of pineapple that was being exported out of Costa Rica, which was the MD-2.
Knowing that the existing varieties of pineapple couldn’t sustain the long ship rides to foreign markets, Edna began lobbying the government of Panama to let her experiment with the MD-2 at her farm. Two years later, she gained the approval and the pineapple export business was born.
During the course of the next 25 years, Edna organized and grew the business along with 55 local growers, which would go on to construct the first pineapple export facility in Panama. Edna’s creation would go on to attract multinational companies and spurn a movement that has made Panama one of the top pineapple producers in Central America. In 2007, Edna was the first female recipient of the Panama’s Agriculture Person of the Year. She continues to lead the growth of Panama’s agricultural movement as the president of the National Export Association. Her story has inspired hundreds of local women and farmers to grow more and push Panama to the forefront of agricultural exports while maintaining environmentally friendly methods.
- In 2002, Vergara worked with the Panamanian government to bring the first Golden Pineapple (MD2) seeds into the country from the Dole-Del Monte operations in Costa Rica. In 2006, Vergara developed the first fruit pack house in Panama’s La Chorrera area and secured a Global Gap Exporter Certification, which is the industry’s standard for fruit and vegetable export worldwide.
- In 2007, Vergara became the first female winner of the Agriculture Person of the year award.
- In 2009, under her leadership, the fruit packhouse operation achieved a peak production of 500 containers of fruit annually with more than 9.6 million kilograms of pineapple exported to more than ten countries throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. In addition to the company’s own pineapple production, approximately 50 outside growers work with Vergara’s pack house to export fruit.
- As of today, Vergara has instructed more than 40 seminars and certificate courses on agriculture and animal farming. Likewise, she is the President of the Pineapple Exporters Association (AANPEP), the Vice-President of the Tropical Fruit Exporters Association (GANTRAP), and an active member of the Association of Panamanian Exporters (APEX).
- Vergara works actively with the Panamanian Ministries of Agriculture and Commerce through various committees and conferences to develop policy and lobby for the national agricultural industry.
Verba Odrec SA proudly partners with international institutions in order to maintain friendly environmental processes as well as a fair labor approach, thus creating holistic connections with the land, the environment, and its people.
Verba Odrec SA holds a GRASP certification that stands for Corporates Social Responsibility. It is add on to the Global Gap Certification, which Verba Odrec SA gained in 2016 and is required to export to any country in the world. Verba Odrec SA has been Global Gap Certified for more than 10 years.
Global Gap has a mandatory food traceability system incorporated and it is not just a system for good farming practices. Global Gap makes it mandatory to keep records of all applications to the crops and to properly labeled parcels and lots. This way, when a fruit arrives at the pack house, it can be traced directly to where it came from and what applications it received. In addition, each production lot at the pack house is managed, boxed, and labeled with a precise traceability number. If there are any issues with particular shipment, the pack house can trace it all the way back to its lot of origin.