Drug violence is on the rise in Colombia’s major banana-producing zone, a leading businessman in the area said Monday.
Gabriel Harry Hinestrosa, owner of a banana-growing company and and chairman of the Medellin Chamber of Commerce, says narco-traffickers are increasingly using ports off the Pacific coast to smuggle narcotics. Out of the approximately 84,000 acres that make up Colombia’s banana-growing Uraba region, about 12,355 acres face high security risks from drug smugglers, according to Hinestrosa.
Farmers are also struggling due to a drop in the dollar, Hinestrosa added. The banana tycoon noted that the European Union’s recent decision to cut banana tariffs from $248 to $160 per ton is not yet obviously benefiting farmers in the area.
Colombia expects to export 85 million boxes of bananas this year.