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Most farmers and those selling farmland do not use the traditional marketing channels for selling farmland in Panama, ampoule which means the key to identifying well-priced farmland is having a local scout in the area with contacts to the land owners, farming tenants, and syndicate developers. Panama Equity has those connections and always has a specialist available to assist in the search for quality farmland and farms for sale in Panama’s three specific farming zones.
Experts believe this segment is poised for a major realignment as producers either shift to more profitable crops or sell out to developers.
As global food prices continue to rise, buy investors have begun to buy up massive parcels of producing farmland in areas all over the world. Panama farms for sale are still relatively inexpensive because the local ranchers and farmers are still farming the way their grandfathers did and still getting the same yields. Most are not using modern seed technology, soil therapy, crop rotation, etc. And why not? If you inherited the land for nothing or bought it 50 years ago for almost nothing?
Good cropland in America’s farm belt is currently selling for as much as $30,000 per hectare (2.47 acres). In most of these areas such as Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois, the farmer yields one crop per year, with the rest of the year being too cold to plant. In Panama, crops are year-round and get between 2 to 3 rotations, and a few of our land scouts in selected areas of the country have identified over 20,000 hectares and counting of good farmland with prices starting at $10,000 per hectare.
Roughly 9% of Panama´s land is cultivated for farm use, with the primary agricultural exports being coffee, pineapple, melon, banana, fish, shrimp, and timber (mahogany and cedar). Of the top 20 products exported from Panama, more than 10 reported an increase this year based on records from the last 5 years, while other crops such as watermelons, onions, and rice are down drastically. Exportation from Panama is mostly to the United State and Europe, especially within the fruits sector. The export of agricultural products in Panama is over $700M per year, and there is definitely room for growth in the farming sector, especially for a well capitalized investor who has farm and ranching experience.
Products produced for local consumption comprise roughly 95% of the bread basket in Panama, including beef, chicken, pork, rice, tubers, onions, and tomatoes. Experts believe this segment is poised for a major realignment as producers either shift to more profitable crops or sell out to developers. The supply for producing farmland in Panama has dropped substantially over the last few years, and supporting the agricultural sector has recently become a national priority for the current administration. This means a renewed push for new trade alliances (similar to the recently approved Free Trade Agreements between Panama and the US and Canada), along with government sponsored subsidies, training, and access to loans that five years ago did not exist.
There are a number of different regions that have climates suitable for agriculture and still have Panama farms for sale. Between the District of Chorrera and the Province of Coclé (the two closest districts to Panama City), there are parcels and whole farms for sale that are ideal for cattle, pineapple, and timber, which is a particularly low maintenance product that generally provides longer term revenues, as opposed to the short growing cycle for products like pineapples.
Nurseries in Panama are another good use of farming land, and cater to the many developments in both the city and the interior of the country who are looking to develop new projects. Different varieties of palm trees and decorative plants are very popular in these areas, and the market is growing as new hotels and new residential developments move in to the area, due in part to the international airport in Rio Hato to be completed in 2014.
This article was contributed by Kent Davis of Panama Equity, a boutique real estate agency with Panama Farms for Sale in the interior and city regions of Panama.
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