Costa Rica bets on efficiency and adding value to their exports

Agribusiness producers have a clear idea: they have to become competitive, efficient and add value to their products if they want to see their exports grow.

While the sector's exports grew by 2.6% in 2014, the numbers show there has been a deceleration since 2010, when exports were increasing by up to 17%.

The pineapple has been one of the products that continues to have relatively stable exports and that contributed positive numbers to the sector. In 2014, for example, foreign sales grew by almost 7%.

Edgar Medina, commercial manager of Tropifoods, a firm engaged in the production and export of fruits and vegetables, was emphatic when he said that if this trend continued, pineapple producers could forget about the basic fresh produce exports.

"We have to process the fruit and industrialize processes. If we want to sell our product to a yoghurt factory, we can't sell them the fruit, we have to consider offering the concentrated juice, jam, or slice it into pieces," he said.

The firm hopes to make a shift in operation within two years and step into the industrial use market.

Besides exporting pineapple, Tropifoods also exports cassava, yams, taro, and other products.

Christian Herrera, president of the National Association of Producers and Exporters of Pineapple (Canapep) said they also needed to better exploit their crops' hectares.

"We're nearing the opportunity of finalizing trade agreements with China. We have the technology to reach that market, but we can't afford to lose focus," he said.

To date, the country has 46,000 hectares devoted to pineapple crops.

Source: La nacion

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