Agricultural products are going to be scarce in Costa Rica

According to Alvaro Saenz, a spokesman for the National Chamber of Agriculture and Agroindustry (CNAA), even though El Niño phenomenon won't be as strong as originally expected, it will affect many agricultural products and people's pockets, as prices will increase due to scarcity issues.

Unfortunately, Saenz added, people tend to think that the effect of rain is immediate on crops, but it is not.

"A lot o people will think things are better when it starts to rain again, but that's not how things work. The lack of rain we've had since October in areas where it should have been raining is what will generate the shortage because the harvest takes place months later," Saenz said.

According to Saenz, potato, onion, tomato, celery, cilantro, and cabbage crops, among others, will be very affected.

"In addition, our reserves of rice are low. There is a shortage of rice and beans due to the loss of the Upala harvest and there will be a decrease in milk because, since the pastures dried up due to the lack of rain, the cows are not producing milk," he said.

To make matters worse, the lack of rain has generated a proliferation of pests and farmers can't don't have the necessary supplies to deal with them.

"We are paralyzed by an environmentalist hysteria which does not allow us to use new generation of agrochemicals. Other countries in the region are affected by El Niño, but they can use agrochemicals," he said.

As a result, he said, the heat increases the number of insects, such as the whitefly that attacks the sweet pepper harvest. Unfortunately farmers can't control it because they can not use agrochemicals.

"Moreover, fertilizers need water and if it doesn't rain our plants will be weaker and more vulnerable to diseases because the heat brings more viruses and bacteria, but less fungi," he said.


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