160 hectares donation by Chiquita and partners

Corporate News

Reforested land given back to the people of Panama

Chiquita cares very much about the Caribbean communities and their environment. That is why, on February the 22nd, the company was one of those involved in the donation of 160 hectares of reforested land from the San San Pond Sak wetland reserve to the people of Panama. This contribution is part of the public private partnership Changuinola-Sixaola (Panama and Costa Rica) which includes la Alianza por el Millón, Chiquita, the Panamian Ministry of Environment as well as German and Costa Rican companies and NGOs: REWE, GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and Corbana (Corporation Bananera Nacional of Costa Rica). The local NGO  AAMVECONA also supports the project on behalf of the people of Panama and their desire for a sustainable country. Hundreds of volunteers from Chiquita Panama have worked on the reforesting project.

Result of long-term planning and intense partnership

From 2009 to 2014 an area of land with degraded soil in Panama was restored via assisted reforestation. Chiquita not only planted thousands of trees but also provided financial support for the purchase of the land from the previous owner. Following this transaction, the land was transferred to AAMVECONA, which managed the reforestation process during this period. After the initial five years of the program, Chiquita and AAMVECONA agreed to donate the area to MIAMBIENTE, which offered to manage it. This agreement became a part of a MIAMBIENTE initiative to reforest one million hectares in Panama.

After the conclusion of the project, Chiquita Brands, the German REWE Group and AAMVECONA continued to finance the maintenance, surveillance and protection of the reforested land. There are several protected species that inhabit this area, in particular sea turtles and manatees. Since the San San project started, at least 30,000 hatchling turtles have been released. This has proven a great success for all participants: the Finca Tres Bocas area has shown excellent forestry recovery and become home to native species of flora and fauna.

Giving back: February 22nd - a special day

At the donation event, that took place on February 22nd at 9.30am on the bridge of San San, REWE was represented by Dr. Florian Schäfer, Sustainability Director, Jens Gabriel, Procurement Director and by Kristina Schütz, Spokesperson. Winfried Brakhan, Administrator del Fondo Centroamerica de REWE, represented GIZ. Chiquita was represented by CEO & President, Andrew Biles and by Raul Gigena Pazos, Human Resources and Sustainability Director.

Did you know?

The San San Project aimed to contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and support the development of communities in the Caribbean region on the Costa Rican and Panamanian border. This project started in 2008 as a private partnership between Chiquita and the REWE Group. Later it expanded to include GIZ and CORBANA, extending over the border into Costa Rica. In Panama the work carried out by Chiquita and its partners has focused on biodiversity conservation and environmental education in the San San Pond Sak wetland reserve and surrounding communities, not far from banana farms owned by Chiquita and local growers. In this region the majority of inhabitants and Chiquita’s employees belong to the Ngobe Bouglé indigenous community.

The San San Pond Sak Reserve, a Ramsar wetland of international importance, is located near the Caribbean shoreline, five kilometers from the town of Changuinola. The protected area of 160 hectares includes rivers and their estuaries, lagoons, mangrove forests and beaches where three species of marine turtles lay their eggs.