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   Costa Rica Anticipates Continuing Growth In 2018
Posted: Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 9:09AM EST

Building on several years of increasing produce exports, Costa Rica foresees a strong 2018 as exporters continue to offer an increasingly diverse supply of produce items as well as the capacity to meet new regulatory requirements. 

Statistics thru October 2017 (the latest officially available) show Costa Rica exported close to US$2.4 billion in agricultural exports to the world, a growth of 4% compared to the same period in 2016. The United States remains the main destination country with US$1.09 billion from January to October of 2017. 

“Costa Rica remains a strong, reliable and versatile exporter of produce,” says Pedro Beirute, CEO of Procomer (Costa Rica’s trade promotion agency). “We expect to close out 2017 with over US$2.7 billion in ag exports.”

Led by the banana and pineapple industry, Costa Rica’s exports to the world continue to grow and diversify and include strong offerings in yucca, melons, chayote, ñame, and other fruits. Procomer export statistics indicate banana export volume increased over 25% from 2015 to 2017, pineapple by almost 14%, yucca by 12%, watermelon by 57%, and chayote by 33%. “We expect growth in these highly demanded products to continue in 2018,” says Beirute.

Costa Rica looks to tropical and exotic product growth in 2018.  “The U.S. marketplace continues to demand new and unique products due to the increase in ethnic diversity in the population as well as U.S. consumers’ expanding pallet,” says Beirute. “As consumers seek out more tropical, exotic and ethnic items, Costa Rica will play a key role in providing some of this high quality, reliable supply. With more than 145 varieties of fruits and vegetables and more than 365 exporters shipping to the U.S., Costa Rica represents a wealth of potential products for any market.”

 Particularly on the future radar for greater development in export offerings are ginger, rambutan, a variety of specialty melons, beets, cabbage, carrots, pumpkin, root products, and more organics. “Costa Rican exporters have long been characterized as serious, trustworthy, professional partners,” says Beirute. “It only makes sense for U.S. buyers to look a country with our track record of reliability and quality as they seek more and new products.”

As U.S. importers prepare for implementation and enforcement of the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) of the new Food Safety Modernization Act, Costa Rican exporters believe they are in a key position to help U.S. buyers meet these new regulations. “Costa Rica’s produce export sector is built on a history of regulatory and quality compliance,” says Beirute. “Our exporters have for decades proven their ability to meet the most stringent standards to export to Europe as well as the U.S. Many of our exporters are GlobalGAP compliant and many have ISO, Kosher, USDA Organic, and Fair Trade certifications, among others. This reflects the country's commitment to quality, health and environment.”

 Additionally, Costa Rican exporters receive support from PROCOMER to help bolster compliance. “PROCOMER has been working hand-in-hand with suppliers to the U.S.,” says Beirute. “We facilitate certificated audits and train exporter personnel in risk management and preventive controls to help them comply with quality and food safety standards as well as good agricultural practices. This helps our exporters meet the standards set forth in the FSVP and demonstrates the quality of our exportable offering.”


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