Thursday, June 17, 2010

US Demand for Costa Rican & Nicaraguan Produce Increases 28%

Costa Rican and Nicaraguan producers of vegetable, pineapple and different types of melon are preparing for the increased horticulture demand in the USA expected for 2010-2019. US demand will grow 28% over the next 10 years, according to a USDA Report - Agricultural Projections for 2019. This is equivalent to over 6.5 million pounds in additional produce.

This is just another one of the results of CAFTA, the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Costa Rica was the last of the Central American countries to approve the agreement in 2007.

Pineapple is the product most exported to the USA after bananas. The National Consortium of Pineapple Producers and Exporters (Canapep in Spanish) also expects 10% increase in export growth to Europe, their second largest market. Nearly 5,000 containers of melon (cantaloupe) alone were exported to the US in 2009 while 2,500 were sent to Europe, excluding watermelon exports.

The only complaints from the local agricultural voice is that they could take better advantage of the USDA's predictions if there were better lines of credit and infrastructure in the country.

What does this mean to foreign investors? --- That expansion from traditional real estate investment into alternative investment like energy and agriculture can be fruitful (no pun intended) for local and international interests alike. Costa Rican farmers need credit and international investment support to keep up with demand from those same countries. Credit is tight in banks everywhere, but international investors can also benefit from granting angel investor loans to established Costa Rican farmers. In turn, production and profit will flourish for all parties involved, not to mention helping to meet global demand for fresh produce and fruit.

So thank Costa Rica and Nicaragua for the fresh cantaloupe, watermelon and bananas you enjoy all summer long!

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