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Costa Rica: Bananas and Pineapples Compete for the First Place in Exports

25.1.2019

Costa Rican banana exports fell US$ 59 million, a 6% slowdown according to Procomer data.

Pineapple ranks as the first export agricultural product, according to data released on January 22nd by the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer).

However, the National Banana Corporation (Corbana) disagrees with the figures, as information is still lacking to conclude how the year ended.

According to Procomer, pineapple exports increased US$49 million, which represents an increase of 5%, while those of bananas fell US$59 million, a decrease of 6%.

Jorge Sauma, general manager of Corbana indicated that Procomer does not have the latest data.

"We are the main agricultural export product. The statistics do not lie and if we include derivatives it would be even more. What happens is that they do not have the Duas (customs document), which is presented after the end of the year," explained Sauma.

According to their numbers, the drop could reach US$30 million, which is half of what Procomer is registering. One issue that affected the banana and other agricultural products last year was the climate.

Corbana projects that it will close 2018 with 3 to 5 million fewer boxes, they initially estimated that it would lose up to 8 million. The decrease would be only 3% compared to the previous year, instead of the 6% indicated by the Foreign Trade Promoter in millions of dollars.

Abel Chaves, president of the National Chamber of Producers and Exporters of Pineapple (Canapep), said that the numbers available to the Chamber are in line with those of Procomer.

"It also true that there are some late data that the Directorate General of Customs has to give, which are counted until January, but I doubt that they would be able to turn this result around," Chaves said.

He added that 2018 was a difficult year for both banana and pineapple. The latter due to a climate issue and product oversupply.

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