The owners of Finca Tupisa are seeking investors for a tropical hardwood reforestation plantation located in the Darién province at the eastern end of the Republic of Panama. The plantation consists of approximately 150 hectares of reclaimed secondary jungle and scrub of which presently 60% of the land is planted. A complete inventory of the healthy and commercial-quality trees was carried out in April of 2013 rendering a total of 13,935 trees.
In November of 2013 – 75 Cedro Amargo were cut and sold, leaving a balance of 13,860 trees for continued growth, including:
- 1735 spiny cedar (cedro espino- Bombacopsis quinata [752 trees 23 years old, 983 trees 14 years old]),
- 390 Spanish cedar (cedro amargo- Cedrela odorata [350 trees 23 years old, 40 trees 14 years old])
- 3393 tropical oak (roble- Tabebuia pentaphyllia [23 years old]),
- 4711 mahogany (Switena macrophyllia [4121 trees 23 years old, 590 trees 14 years old]),
- 682 cativo (Prioria aromática [23 years old]),
- 2525 teak (Tectona grandis [2 years old, re-sprouting]),
- 238 espavé (Anacardium excelsium [13 years]).
- 90 pine (Pinus caribaea [23 years old])
- 96 Assorted: Lechityssp, Tabebula guayacan, and acacia,sp, (natural regeneration – 20 years?)
Finca Tupisa is controlled by a family-owned corporation, Arboles Camargo, S.A., which has no other holdings, and the Corporation itself is for sale. The asking price is US $ 1,500,000.
Finca Tupisa – Gallery of photos
It is now possible to drive all year round from Panama City to Yaviza in a standard car on the newly asphalted Interamerican Highway, passing by Finca Tupisa’s roadside lot, the trip taking 4 to 4.5 hours. The distance between the entrance to the farm and Yaviza via the highway is five kilometers, a 10- to 15-minute drive.
Travel between the farm and Yaviza on the river is possible as well in an outboard-motor driven piragua, a 20-minute trip either way. To reach the additional one-hectare plot and small house outside of Yaviza is a few minutes by piragua from the town, crossing the Chucunaque and going up the Río Chico. There is also a hanging footbridge from Yaviza to the opposite shore where the Yaviza Hospital is located, and a short walk from there leads to a path along the Río Chico to the house. (See area maps below.)
The remote Darien province is experiencing the early stages of economic development due to worldwide interest in forestry and jungle preservation, both associated with the prevention of global warming. At the end of the 260-kilometer Interamerican Highway in the heart of the Darien, on the banks of the tidal Chucunaque River, is the town of Yaviza.
Yaviza is a small, bustling town. It is the supply depot for the surrounding areas and features a commercial wharf, rustic restaurants, a large school, a small hospital, a variety of shops, and a handsome church. The nightlife, while not continental, is lively.
The friendly local inhabitants comprise a competent, cost-effective, and convenient labor pool for the plantation.
Travel between any town or village not on the highway but on the Chucunaque or its tributaries is by piragua. The jungle is laced with Indian walking-trails all over the Darien.
General description of Finca Tupisa
The 145-hectare, main section of the plantation is 256 kilometers from Panama City, before arriving at the community of Yaviza, on the opposite side of the Chucunaque River from the Interamerican Highway. A 0.5-hectare staging area with an 800-ft. sq. storage warehouse has been established on the highway side of the river, between the road and the water.
The 145-hectare area is comprised of three lots: a V-shaped 71-hectare lot at the confluence of the Chucunaque and Tupisa rivers which is mostly reforested, a 42-hectare lot on the east which is partially reforested, and a 32-hectare lot on the north which is not planted. The total reforested area of 80.5 hectares is subdivided by a network of wide grass trails for access to section blocks or individual stands of trees. There is an extensive drainage-ditch grid which functions ecologically and carries ground-water off to the Chucunaque and Tupisa rivers. Two small streams meander through the area as well which are crossed by wooden bridges where they intersect with the trails. There is also a double firebreak around the perimeter of the plantation for protection during the dry season.
Up the middle of the area known as the Area Cacao (in the 71-hectare lot) is a 600-meter grass landing strip suitable for STOL aircraft and helicopters. It is packed, leveled earth with large drainage ditches running up both sides. The grassy cover is mowed and the ditches kept clean. It is not approved by the Aeronáutica Civil for commercial use but may be legally used for charter and private purposes.
Included in the offer is an additional hectare located one kilometer away from Yaviza, up the Río Chico (a tributary of the Chucunaque River just across from the town, where there is a cement-block house. (See the description below.)
- House outside of Yaviza (described below)
- A 1,200-sq. ft. workshop structure with an office and storage area for equipment
- A 3,200-sq. ft, covered, cement-floored production area with drying racks, an oven, and storage bins (for cacao no longer in production)
- An 800-sq.ft. storage warehouse on the roadside lot
- A 640-sq ft., native style, bamboo house for resident watchmen
- A 600-meter grass landing strip with excellent drainage
- A Caterpillar D-4 bulldozer with blade, and a Massey-Ferguson MF-40 farm tractor, with tools
- A Yamaha 15 HP outboard motor for river trips
- Assorted farming tools: weed whackers, lawnmowers, chain saws, fumigation pumps, tools
House Outside of Yaviza:
Twenty minutes further down the Chucunaque River from the farm, on the outskirts of Yaviza, on the banks of the Río Chico there is a 1-hectare lot with a 1 ½-story, cement block house (tin roofing, 2 bedrooms, room for 2 baths). The house sits on the riverbank overlooking Río Chico with a view of untouched jungle on the opposite side of the river. Water and electricity could be acquired from the nearby town of Yaviza.
House at Río Chico
Legal and Financial Structure
All properties are titled in the Public Registry of Panama in the name of the Corporation, free of lien.
Arboles Camargo, S.A. was founded under the pertinent laws of Panama in 2012 for the purpose of acquiring the farm by transfer from its previous Private Foundation owners. Licenciado Oriel De Frías is the legal representative and Registered Agent (a Panamanian legal requirement) of the Corporation. The farm complies with all local laws: labor, health, and fiscal. The audited legal books and general bookkeeping are constantly updated. An annual report on the status of the plantation and the investment involved is prepared, which report constitutes a detailed technical and financial history of the farm and plantings from 1992 to the present. The Corporation and the farm are debt-free.
The farm is solely dedicated to reforestation and the trees are registered in the name of Arboles Camargo, S.A. in the newly formed Ministerio de Ambiente (was the Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente, ANAM) under Registro Forestal No. ARAD-007-2007. This, along with Panama’s signatory participation in the Kyoto Protocol of 1998, makes Finca Tupisa eligible for several tax exonerations. Net gains from the sale of timber are tax-exempt and the land where reforestation is carried out is exempt from land taxes. Equipment used for reforestation projects may also be imported tax-free under certain conditions. The annual Tasa Unica (US$300) is not exempt.
The farm is currently managed by Alice I. Kittredge with the technical assistance of Forestry Engineer Pedro Garay and the field assistance of Luis Zaera, and the services of an accountant. There are two permanent on-site workers, one of whom lives at the farm itself. There is an abundant labor force in the area for all farming tasks at wages which average US$15 per day. The staff visits the farm 1-2 times a month and there is telephone communication three times a week with the permanent worker who lives in Yaviza. This management team would be available to assist a new owner if desired.
Most of Finca Tupisa’s wood is for the local market (cedars, roble, espavé, cativo). The mahogany and teak are more attractive to the international market. An estimated gross value for the present plantings (excepting the newly sprouted teak) in eight to twelve years, given an approximate value of US$100 per 25-30 year-old tree would be around US$1,300,000. The 2525 newly-sprouted teak in twenty years would have an appreciated value of approximately US$170,000 or in 25-30 years an estimated gross value at US$300/tree (after thinning) of another US$500,000. The costs of thinning and timbering are not estimated here.
Terms of Sale
The Corporation with all its properties and assets is for sale for US$1,500,000 or best offer. Relevant documents for due diligence are available on request through the addresses in the Contact Information in the side bar above on the right hand side of the page.