Despite being two of Costa Rica's top three export products, the country's banana and pineapple exports in 2022 decreased due to the uncertainty in the international market, the difficulty in placing the harvest abroad, and high production costs.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine had an impact on both sectors, but the banana sector had a more drastic drop compared to the pineapple sector. Banana exports between January to November went from $692.1 million in 2021 to $672.5 million in 2022; this information, however, does not take into consideration the months of April, May, and June, for which there is no data because of the hack to the Ministry of Finance. During the same period, pineapple exports went from $666.7 million in 2021, to $655.8 million in 2022.
Between 2021 and 2022, the volume of bananas exported decreased by 145,000 tons (-8.86%); while pineapple exports only decreased by 19,700 tons (-1.63%).
According to the Central Bank of Costa Rica's most recent Monthly Index of Economic Activity (with information up to November), the increases in the prices of inputs, such as imported fertilizers, led to a fall in the production of bananas and pineapples.
In addition, banana production in 2022 was hindered by cold weather and heavy rains, which ended up affecting the exportable supply, stated Jorge Sauma, the general manager of the National Banana Corporation (Corbana).
Banana exports do not behave in a linear way, but in 'cycles'. In some years the indicators go up and in others, they go down, Sauma stated. 2023 won't be a great year, but it won't be a bad one, he added. According to Sausa, the sector will start to rebound and prices will be stable during the first 20 weeks of the year.
In turn, Siany Villalobos, the president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Exporters (Cadexco), said that the global economic slowdown will affect supply chains and the performance of Costa Rican exporting companies.