One of the world’s largest Fruit importer, Fyffes has issued a deathblow to Belize’s banana industry by cutting trading relations with the biggest producer in Belize namely, Mayan King because of its links to a local businessman named by US authorities as a drug kingpin. A report from the Irish Times states that and we quote, “Given recent developments where John Zabaneh appeared to speak on behalf of Meridian Farms, Fyffes immediately ceased purchase of bananas from the farms in question”. It added that the Banana Growers’ Association, the local body through which it buys fruit from the Central American country, had confirmed this to the Meridian group of farms. Under the country’s Kingpin Act, the US treasury department in 2012 named Mr Zabaneh as a narcotics trafficker with ties to Mexican drugs baron Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman, his Sinaloa Cartel and Colombian suppliers. Therefore, the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act bans US citizens and organisations from doing business with any person or company that the authorities identify.
The report further states that Mayan King is responsible for around one quarter of Belize’s banana exports. The Banana Growers’ Association acts as the sole exporter for the fruit.
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