Panama capitalizes on protected agriculture

Panama has made a significant amount of capital available to convert its traditional agricultural production to controlled environment agriculture and protected agriculture, including greenhouse operations and even indoor farming. Supported with the highest economic growth rate of all, Panama plays a pivoting role for the development of the industry in other Latin American countries too.

For this reason, the Foundation for the Development of Controlled Environment Agriculture (FDCEA) will once again be organizing an International Congress on Controlled Environment Agriculture (ICCEA) from May 17 to 19 in Panama City. The event will feature a vast lineup of speakers and sessions that will address how to use science and market to build a successful controlled environment agriculture business in Panama's promising investment climate.

Jim Pantaleo, Director of Sales & Marketing at the ICCEA, said that special development programs and government initiatives make Panama a great location for their event. "Recently, the Panamanian government announced a first-round monetary infusion for fiscal year 2017 of $243m USD to be directed towards increasing food production utilizing controlled environment and precision agriculture technology."

Pantaleo explained that these funds will be used to transition from current traditional agriculture and the challenges therein (water, inputs, available arable land, etc.) to technology-based, CEA food production. Furthermore there will also be an allotment of subsidies/rebates/returns for those agricultural-based companies or growers who invest and engage. One such program will return up to 50% of the investment in CEA equipment purchases."

Therefore, Panama is an ideal location for a conference and exhibition on controlled environment and protected agriculture; because after all, there is huge demand for knowledge and a significant amount of capital available to invest in protected agriculture.

"For companies that already sell to the Latin American marketplace or are considering this vast market, now is the time to act to position themselves in a market with an increasing amount of buyers", said Pantaleo. "Panama is but one country in Latin America in line for receiving this type of financial infusion to upgrade the agriculture sector. Peru, Chile and others are following suit. In addition, there is a robust effort by CAF – the Latin American Development Bank - and other multilateral organizations to increase their agriculture portfolio throughout Latin America, applying technology to grow food."

Pantaleo said that the additional closed meetings at the congress will be extra interesting for exhibitors to participate. "This special meeting will be by invitation-only and only for exhibitors. By personally meeting with top government officials to understand the various programs, exhibitors will be able to position themselves with key buyers. "Companies interested to participate as an exhibitor at the ICCEA 2017 are invited to contact me directly. Be quick, because booth space is filling up quickly."

Advancements in CEA projects in Panama

The programs that are initiated by the Panamanian government have a collective value of over 600 million dollars for fiscal year 2017 and within the past 18 months, several projects have already been initiated and implemented. Among them are ten greenhouse projects, two indoor farm food production facilities, a private tissue culture laboratory, a private seedling production facility and two state of the art R&D facilities, one of which located at a university. Furthermore, another large-scale world class R&D facility is under development as well as other greenhouse projects and indoor farm facilities. These are just a few examples of what is to come and prove that is will be interesting for suppliers to interact with the possibilities in the Latin American market for controlled environment agriculture.

For more information:
International Congress on Controlled Environment Agriculture (ICCEA)
Jim Pantaleo (e-mail)

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