|Coffee has played a significant role in the development of Costa Rica, a country in Central America. The country’s Central Valley contributed to its success in coffee production because of the ideal condition in the area / Photo by: Tarrazu via Wikimedia Commons|
Coffee has played a significant role in the development of Costa Rica, a country in Central America. The country’s Central Valley contributed to its success in coffee production because of the ideal condition in the area, including cool climate, high altitude, and fertile soil. That is why it has been referred to as the heart of Costa Rica’s coffee industry.
A Downward Trend in Coffee Production
A recent report from market landscape Nasdaq, however, reveals that the country’s coffee exports declined by 57.8% YoY in October and continues a downward trend. Nasdaq cited the data released by the national coffee institute ICAFE.
ICAFE shows that Costa Rica only exported 9,204 60-kg bags in October, which is the first month of the coffee production season in their country. Although Costa Rica is one of the smaller producers of coffee in Central America, it is known in the world because of its high-quality beans. ICAFE Market research unit’s head Marco Araya said that “unfortunately,” Costa Rica’s harvest is in a downward trend.
In Mexico and Central America, the coffee season begins in October and ends in September. Together, they produce about a fifth of the arabica beans of the world. During the 2018 to 2019 cycle, Costa Rica likewise exported 1,070,690 bags of coffee but this is a decline compared to the 1, 219, 998 bags they exported the last cycle.
Plan to Double Its Coffee Production for 2023
Despite the decline in coffee exports, plantations continue to grow in Costa Rica and this caused a growing interest in coffee as well. The economic boom impacted the lives of the people in the country and has led to transformations in other fields, such as education, health, and even the country’s culture. Costa Rica is now planning to implement a strategy called the National Technology Transfer, which will double the present yearly production of its aromatic bean in the next four years. This is according to the nation’s archive The Costa Rica News.
In collaboration with the National Institute of Agricultural Technology Research and Transfer (INTA) and ICAFE, the country will facilitate the nationwide production of 200 thousand bushels. This will be double the amount compared to the 704 thousand bushels they produced in 2018 to 2019 coffee harvest.
The joint private and public effort is expected to improve the competitiveness of Costa Rica’s coffee sector and is hoped to improve the quality of the lives of the coffee producers and their families.
There are eight distinct regions highlighted for coffee production. The first would be the Central Valley because of its fertile volcanic soils that can produce a coffee that has a fine aroma, chocolate-like flavor, and high acidity. The second region would be the Western Valley, wherein coffee harvested has a distinct apricot and peach flavor. The third region is the Tarrazu Mountains popular for producing coffee with fine acidities like orange, lemon, and other citrus fruits. Tres Rios is also included in the coffee production region. Coffee from such a region has the right balance of aroma and acids. Other regions mentioned are Orosi, Coto Brus and Pérez Zeledón, Guanacaste, and the Turrialba region. Coffee produced in the Turrialba region contains low acidity and has a good aroma because of the rainy climate there.
|Despite the decline in coffee exports, plantations continue to grow in Costa Rica and this caused a growing interest in coffee as well / Photo by: Tarrazu via Wikimedia Commons|
Total Production by Other Exporting Countries
The main intergovernmental organization for coffee International Coffee Organization, which brings together importing and exporting governments to tackle the challenges faced by the coffee sector, has shared the total production by all exporting countries in thousand 60-kg bags. Costa Rica’s total production in 2015 crop year reached 1,440 and slightly decreased the following crop year to 1,372. Then, it increased again in 2017 to 1,561, and then experienced another decline in 2018 with only 1,427 thousand 60-kg bags. The total production of Mexico and Central America in 2018 reached 21,341.
The Costa Rican coffee is now prized as one of the world’s best and the country is shipping its produce everywhere, including Amsterdam and Austin. About 90% of the coffee produced in the country is exported, which accounts for nearly 11% of the overall export earnings of Costa Rica. Small farmers in the country are the ones that play a large part in the production. Most coffee berries in the country are handpicked from the plants and then taken to the processing plants called beneficios where the crops are removed from pulp and washed.
|The Costa Rican coffee is now prized as one of the world’s best and the country is shipping its produce everywhere, including Amsterdam and Austin / Photo by: Sarah Murray via Wikimedia Commons|
Advocacy group and non-governmental organization Global Exchange moreover shares that around 45,000 coffee farmers in Costa Rica belong to cooperatives that are involved with fair trade organizations. These organizations help them secure better salaries and rights even for small farmers. There is also a fair trade certification that promotes the economic, social, and environmental sustainability in the country.
The plan of Costa Rica to optimize its coffee production will have an impact not only on its export earnings but also on its economic growth. After all, the crop has already gained increasing attention at a global level.