Headline — 25 June 2016 — by Micah Goodin

SAN JOAQUIN, Corozal District, Thurs. June 23, 2016–Following the final collapse of the papaya industry, two hundred and fifty Belizean men and women will be without work.

Fruta Bomba, the nation’s former leading papaya exporter, has decided to move on to greener pastures.

This week marks the last day of its operations which had gradually been declining since early February of this year.

While Fruta Bomba moves on to the Dominican Republic, there are Belizeans who are unable to move on any at all because there isn’t much economic activity occurring in the Corozal District.

For many, the papaya industry was the only real opportunity beside the Princess Casino, the cane fields and the declining Commercial Free Zone.

Though the industry has been thriving for over two decades, according to many, it tragically collapsed following Hurricane Richard in 2010 and had ever since been unable to regain its previous stability in the north.

When the Minister of Labor, Hugo Patt, spoke to us this week, he shared, “We knew from the onset because of several situations that Fruta Bomba was practically winding down. As a matter of fact, I think this is the last two weeks that it will be operational. But from the onset it was mentioned that at the time, we knew there were initial talks of winding down, we engaged the company in us being able to preserve the rights for our people and so we look at everything, but more importantly, we made it clear that while any company that winds down and is closing down, there needs to be that compliance with the law and there needs to be benefits given to our employees. As such we feel very confident that in winding down, they have applied the law as is required.”

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