After overcoming COVID-related labor and supply chain disruptions, Costa Rica’s orange production is expected to rebound to 300,000 metric tons in 2022, pushing total orange juice exports slightly higher to 33,000 metric tons. Despite some success in mitigating the worst impacts of citrus greening, the disease is expected to limit near-term prospects for Costa Rican industry growth.
Within orange area planted, farmers are gradually increasing the number of trees per hectare by using the “Flying Dragon” pattern, which supports higher tree density, easier farm management, and lower costs per hectare. This innovation has allowed farmers to significantly increase tree density, moving up from 300 - 450 trees/ha under traditional planting patterns to 800 to 900 trees/ha with the Flying Dragon.
Local industry estimates area planted at around 21,000 hectares (ha) and 7.4 million orange trees, including the area planted on the Nicaraguan side of the border. With reports of reductions in area planted to oranges – as citrus greening disease changes yields and profitability calculations – FAS/San José expects area planted to remain flat or decline slightly in 2022 as the effects of citrus greening persist and as major growers concentrate on improvements to current production areas through replanting and irrigation investments.