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The Costa Rican banana sector shields itself against COVID-19

To date, the Costa Rican banana industry has managed to sustain exports, protecting the health of workers as the main axis.


File photo, previous to the COVID-19 pandemic, of the banana industry of Costa Rica.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) of Costa Rica recently approved the protocol for the prevention of COVID-19 in the banana sector, which includes the preventive and mitigation actions that producers of this export fruit must comply to avoid the spread of the disease.

Under the coordination of the National Banana Corporation (CORBANA), representatives of different companies and organizations of the banana exporting sector, as well as specialists from MAG participated in the process of preparing the document.

Jorge Sauma, general manager of CORBANA, indicated that since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the institution issued several communications to banana producers with the virus prevention measures, related to offices in the packing plants, the field and other facilities. bordering banana production.

"However, it is important that workers know and apply all hygiene protocols and that they become aware that preventing more infections is everyone's commitment, since we are responsible for taking care of each other," he emphasized.

He explained that the banana industry directly employs 40,000 people, so it is vital that banana workers abide by the recommendations given to the letter. "The activity is mainly concentrated in the province of Limón," he said.

“The national banana sector continues to be an example of orderly work and respect for the phytosanitary protocols that the activity requires. Now, with the pandemic, his experience has allowed him to adjust very easily and develop the respective protocol, ”declared the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Renato Alvarado Rivera.

For his part, Eduardo Gómez, president of the Board of Directors of the entity, pointed out that, considering the economic crisis as a result of the pandemic, “up to now the banana industry has managed to sustain the country's agricultural exports and protect the well-being of workers which is the main commitment of the entire sector, ”he said.

Among the measures contemplated in the protocol for the banana sector must be applied in buildings, packing plants and plantations, are:
- Controls for the entry and exit of people to plants and farms.
- Use of personal protection such as face masks and masks.
- Distance between collaborators.
- Decrease in face-to-face meetings.
- Hand washing protocol after coughing and sneezing or after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.
- Banana companies must provide the personnel with the necessary hygiene products to be able to follow the recommendations (soap and water, as well as gel alcohol, at 60 ° or 70 °).
- There should be a person in charge of verifying compliance with the new COVID-19 prevention practices, both in packing plants and on farms.
- Employees must make correct and compulsory use of the personal protective equipment provided by the company, which must be removed in an exclusive plastic bag.
- Companies will have to ensure the cleaning and disinfection, at least twice a day, of all surfaces and spaces that are considered critical, such as handles, handrails, light switches, marker clocks, sanitary services, water faucets, desks and equipment. computer tools, among others, manipulated with high frequency by collaborators and visitors.
In all the banana sector facilities, a business continuity plan must be in place in the event of a process interruption, so that it can return to operation as quickly as possible.
- The continuity plan should serve to protect yourself, reduce the chance of occurrence, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptive incidents when they do occur.
This is the second sanitary protocol for the agri-food sector that is approved; the first protocol was the coffee grower.

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