United Fruit Company

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

United Fruit Company


(“the Banana Trust”), the largest fruit company of the USA; now the United Fruit Company division of the United Brands Company.

The United Fruit Company was founded in 1899 through the merger of a number of plantations and trading companies; in 1970 it acquired the AMK Corporation, a large meat-packing company, and as a result the United Brands food monopoly was formed. In the mid-1950’s, the United Fruit Company had banana plantations in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Jamaica; in most of these countries it also owned railroad lines, streetcar lines, and radio stations, and it controlled seaports and shipping. Owning approximately 90 percent of the bananas exported from its supplier countries, it had a corner (75 percent) on the international banana market. In the early 1970’s, however, when a number of its plantations in several countries were nationalized, its share of the international banana market was reduced to 35 percent.

As a division of United Brands, the United Fruit Company remains the world’s largest supplier of bananas. As of 1974, it owned 22 percent of all land used for banana plantations, including 100 percent of such land in Panama, more than 50 percent in Honduras, and 33 percent in Costa Rica; it also had an extensive commercial network for the sale of bananas in industrially developed countries.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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