Pineapple growers in the Northern Zone of Costa Rica face millions in losses due to the drop in demand for pineapple in their main export markets, the United States and Europe, which has worsened with the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The export price of a kilo of pineapple to make juices fell dramatically from 30 cents to 10 cents of a dollar. Furthermore, since the global crisis caused by the coronavirus began, the international demand for this fruit has fallen by 50%.
Luis Adrian Barrantes, a small producer in the area, assured that the situation has been very hard for pineapple producers for more than 3 years when they had to throw away 50% of their harvest due to an overproduction that took place because the international markets were saturated. However, now with the global health emergency, the situation has worsened. "There is uncertainty for next week and the weeks to come. Since there is no demand for fresh pineapple, all the pineapple we have to export will have to be sent to the juice industry, which would also saturate this market," he said.
The main concern of producers is that they must pay their debts to banks, cooperatives, and foundations. According to estimates, some 400 small and medium producers in San Carlos, Upala, Guatuso, and Los Chiles are facing the same situation.
Those affected indicated that some small producers owe more than 50 million colones and that the debts of medium and large producers were incalculable.