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Del Monte to Shut Pineapple Plantation

From Associated Press

After 90 years in the islands, Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. said it would cease pineapple operations in Hawaii in a little more than two years.

The company said it was no longer economically feasible to grow pineapple in Hawaii because it can be grown for less in other parts of the world.

“It would be cheaper for Del Monte to buy pineapples on the open market than for the company to grow, market and distribute Hawaiian pineapple,” the company said Wednesday.

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Planting at Fresh Del Monte’s Kunia plantation on Oahu was set to end Feb. 19 and the current crop will produce fruit through mid-2008, the company said.

Fred Galdones, president of International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142, said he was worried about the 700 pineapple workers who would lose their jobs.

Galdones said he also was concerned with the future of the two remaining pineapple companies in Hawaii, Dole Food Co. and Maui Land & Pineapple Co.

“I hope it’s not a domino effect like it did with the sugar companies, where one had closed and the others followed suit,” he said.

The company began pineapple operations in Hawaii in 1916, when it was called California Packing Corp.

Its shares fell 30 cents to $22.60.


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