Monday, July 21, 2008
Chaquita Banana Industry
So Jenna and I met some people at a bus stop and started talking one thing led to a nother and we came and visited them at there home in Changuinola, Panama. The man we met was very nice he is from Guatemala, his wife is from Czech and they have 3 kids. He is very high up in the Chaquita Banana Industry. He asked us if we wanted to tour the packing station and the Banana fields. It was amazing at the amount of labor that goes into each package of Banana's. It all starts with the men in the field cutting down the banana stems after approximately 13 to 15 weeks. The field worker works on average of 14 dollars a day and let me tell you it is not a nice work place. The banana stem is not allowed to touch the ground so it does not bruise then they cut the whole top of the tree off and it is not allowed to touch any other tree it is crazy. Then it moves to the washing station via a cable system that is really cool and is cleaned with high water pressure, then it is cut into the hands that we see in the store. But it is a little more complicated there can only be some with bruises about 1/8 in size and if there is bigger than that it is thrown out and if there is 2 bananas that are bad then you throw out the whole had because a hand has to be 3 or more bananas. From there it is put into a tank and cleaned with chlorine water and sorted into large, medium, and small. after that it is placed on trays and sent through a wax that prevents the latex in the banana from spilling all over the other bananas. From there it is placed into boxes in a very orderly fashion. All throughout the process it is being inspected and at the end each pallet of bananas has to be better then 85% or it is thrown out. This is really cool that he was able to give us a tour because it is not allowed, we are among the select few that have been able to do it.