In an unprecedented co-ordinated effort, the Costa Rican banana industry built a dyke on the Rio Matina in record time to prevent surrounding communities and banana plantations from being flooded during the rainy season.

With an investment of more than ¢150 million (£155,000), co-ordinated by the National Banana Corporation (Corbana) and the supervision of the National Service for Groundwater Irrigation and Drainage (Senara), the construction of the dyke was conducted in three phases.

The dyke is in the town of Matina, located 15 miles away from Port Limon. It protects the inhabitants of the small town from potential floods caused by the Matina River.

Another one is being built in Catarina and Paraiso, in the Southern part of Limon, to protect farms and communities from potential overflows caused by the Sixaola River Floods, with a target of November for completion.

Corbana chief executive Jorge Sauma and his board of directors led the project, co-ordinating all the actions that brought this to a successful conclusion, supported by the Costa Rican ministry of agriculture and Senara.

The region has faced serious problems battling floods at the end of 2008 and in the first four months of 2009 and hopes the dykes will protect the production of bananas and ensure the amount of product available for export is maintained.

Jorge Sauma, chief executive of Corbana, told freshinfo: “The programme requires time. We are co-ordinating [efforts] with the global programme of the government. It will take more than one year – first are the studies and after the adjudication and building process.

“The main objective of the dykes is to protect the local communities and our labour and secondly to protect the production and to avoid the reduction in the amount of banana exportation – it is difficult to affirm that they will increase the volume of banana exports.”

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