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Costa Rica's pineapple exports fall after three years of growth

The fall of Costa Rica's pineapple exports in 2019, both in volume and value, ended three years of sustained growth. Last year the country exported 2.13 million tons of pineapples, i.e. 4.8% less than the 2.24 million tons it shipped in 2018 due to the influence of the weather on production and a decrease in the international price of fruit.

According to the Analysis and Monitoring of Pineapple Markets prepared by Shirley Mena Hernandez, a fruit market analyst of the Market Information Service (SIM) of the National Production Council (CNP), as of November 2019, the average FOB price (outbound in the national port) of the Costa Rican pineapple for the United States market was $ 0.46 / kg in 2017, $ 0.44 / kg in 2018, and $ 0.43 / kg in 2019.

According to the president of the National Chamber of Producers and Exporters of Pineapple (Canapep), Abel Chaves, the fall in prices implies a decrease in the income of producers, which, in turn, generates two problems: that producers don't apply inputs to the plantation in the correct period and that some producers leave the activity.

The first impact is reflected in the decline in production, which Canapep said dropped from 199 million boxes in 2018 to 187 million last year. The second consequence is a reduction in the area devoted to this product. In 2018 and early 2019, there were 43,000 net hectares devoted to this production (not counting farm roads, spaces for balers and others) and this year began with 40,000 net hectares.

Given this situation, the sector aims at achieving stability in 2020, so that it doesn't decrease more than in 2019, and an increase in 2021. The idea, Chaves said, is to close this year with a decline close to that of 2019 and recover production in 2021.

Costa Rica produces pineapples in three regions. The Huetar Norte region has the biggest area devoted to this product with 19,600 hectares (49% of the total) which generates 13,720 jobs, according to Canapep. The second region is the Atlantic Huetar region, with 11,600 hectares (29% of the total) and 8,120 jobs, and the third is the Pacific region, with 8,800 hectares of cultivation and 6,160 jobs generated.



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