Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Teaming up with the United Nations for hurricane Dean relief in Belize

It's one more story about hurricane Dean, but it's an important one to note.

After hurricane Dean ravaged the countryside of northern Belize, it was Fruta Bomba employees that helped to distribute emergency food and supplies for the United Nations’ UNICEF program. Fruta Bomba also sent out crews and equipment to clean-up debris and help repair homes in the area.

Working with the Belize Defense Force and the British Military, thirty employees of Fruta Bomba unloaded and repackaged over 120 metric tons of food which included water, rice, protein biscuits and beans. This was quickly accomplished due to a standing agreement between Belize’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) and Fruta Bomba to provide company resources during and after a national emergency.

Besides the emergency food distribution workforce, twenty other employees were dedicated to working debris clean-up in the surrounding area. Other workers were teamed up to go out to the firm’s papaya fields setting trees upright and planting new seedlings for future harvests.

Overall eight army-sized trucks were put into hurricane relief action. The trucks were evenly divided between emergency supply distribution and clean-up work. In a span of two weeks, the clean-up trucks were able to make two passes through the surrounding communities using cane loaders to lift debris into the trucks. Crews also helped their neighbors in putting back roofs, repairing windows and other home repairs made necessary from the storm.

Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers grow and pack Caribbean Red® and Caribbean Sunrise® papayas in Belize, Central America. Hurricane Dean temporarily halted papaya production but company officials see a spring 2008 re-entry into the market.

Fruta Bomba replanted fields with nursery stock that’s a result of five years of research and development. The company is excited about the great taste and shelf life found in the papayas that these seedlings produce.

“2008 will actually be a great year for us in Belize,” said Craig Wheeling CEO of Brooks Tropicals. Both Fruta Bomba and Belize Fruit Packers are subsidiaries of this company which sells and distributes the papayas to the North American market.

“Hurricane Dean just gave us a late start. The year should end with record per acre production of both Caribbean Reds and Caribbean Sunrise papayas,” said Mr. Wheeling.

Committed to doing business in this Central American country, Brooks Tropicals has resumed building a new headquarters complex for Fruta Bomba while plans are going forward to install a custom-built packing machine for Belize Fruit Packers later on this month.