Honduras, between the natural harbors of Puerto Castilla, to
the east of La Ceiba, and Puerto Cortes to the west, had several small
banana farms (more or less family plots) which were producing good
salable stems. Around that same time, there were several
buyers of the fruit who came on a fairly regular basis seeking to
purchase bananas for sale in the United States of America.
of these buyers was Minor C. Keith, who had his own plantations in
Costa Rica, but who needed additional fruit to complete his shipping
Also purchasing on a regular basis from
honduran producers in the late 1880's and the 1890's, were the Macheca
Brothers; the Pizzattis; and Santo Oteri and Son. They all
came to buy bananas, and did so right on the beaches. By mid
1899, all of these buyers became part of the United Fruit Company,
which had been founded in March of 1899.
Vaccaro-D'Antoni partnership came on the scene in late 1899, and on its
first trip to Honduras, seeking to purchase oranges and coconuts for
sale in New Orleans, they also purchased a few stems of bananas at
Roatan Island. Their success in selling their purchases in
New Orleans where they had their own outlet induced them to move to the
mainland of Honduras, and by 1901, they had established themselves at
Salado Barra, west of La Ceiba, and also had an office in La Ceiba.
1912, the honduran banana trade was controlled as follows:
Brothers and Company had a government concession to build
a railroad from the city of La Ceiba on the north coast of Honduras to
the city of Yoro, Yoro. They had by this time some of their
own plantations of bananas, but continued to buy fruit from local
producers. Their area of operations was between Boca Cerrada,
west of La Ceiba, and Balfate, east of La Ceiba (an area of about 80
kilometers of coastline);
2) United Fruit Company
had two concessions which it had purchased with government
approval. One was to build a railroad from Tela to Progreso
which is in the Sula Valley, and the other was to bild a railroad from
Trujillo, to the city of Juticalpa in Olancho. United Fruit
set up the Tela Railroad Company and the Trujillo Railroad Company to
manage these concessions. By this time, United Fruit also had
some of its own plantations, and continued to buy fruit from locals; and
3) Cuyamel Fruit
Company was owned by Samuel
Zemurray, who also had a government concession to build a railroad from
Omoa into the Cuyamel Valley, in which he had banana plantations.
Zemurray had come to Honduras in 1905, arriving in Puerto
Cortes, which wasn't much at that time. He began purchasing
fruit from local producers, just like the Vacccaros and United Fruit
Company, but soon saw the need for having his own farms in order to
have better quality control of production.
summary, by 1912, bananas were being shipped from Honduras solely by:
Vaccaro Brothers; United Fruit Company, and Cuyamel.|
existed an apparent gentleman pact that set the Vaccaro Brother's zone
of influence from the east Bank of the Lean River on the west of La
Ceiba, to the San Esteban river near Balfate, to the east of La Ceiba.
United Fruit Company had two zones of
- The one near Trujillo, in the
Aguan River Valley and along the coast east of Trujillo into the Sico
River Valley; and
- The area of Tela R.R. Co. sector
whose zone of influence was from the West bank of the Lean River to the
east, and to the east bank of the Ulua River to the west of Tela.
Cuyamel zone of influence was west of the Ulua River to the Guatemalan
As of 1996, the banana production and export
from Honduras is handled by:
1) Standard Fruit de
Honduras, S.A. , which is part of Dole
Fresh Fruit International and which originated with the Vaccaro
R.R. Co., which is part of the Chiquita
Brands International which originated with United
Fruit Company. Chiquita's banana operations in
Honduras are all in the Sula Valley.
Fruit de Honduras, S.A. has now constituted the Maya Division, under
William Swinford, who is its designer, and which handles the banana
production in Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico, shipped under
the Dole Label.