San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Organic Production Lags Behind Local Demand

Supermarkets’ efforts to commercialize organic products have been thwarted because production is not enough to supply local consumers’ demand, the daily La República reported this week.

Of the country’s total agricultural production, only 2.4%, which corresponds to some 10,000 hectares, is organic, according to the daily.

Supermarket chains such as Automercado, which sells 35 types of organic products in its eight stores, and Perimercados, which offers these products in six of its 19 stores, agree the organic supply is insufficient.

“One of the factors that affect the supply is the country’s climatic conditions, which causes these products to be sold at elevated prices,” Rodrigo Sánchez, Automercado produce manager, told La República.

Also, 80% of all harvested organic products are exported to countries including the United States, France, Hungary and Germany, bringing in approximately $9 million a year, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Organic farmers say they lack financing options and government support.

“It’s true that the supply of organic products does not meet the demand right now, however, producers have had to undertake this task alone practically, because they lack technical assistance; for example, the Ministry of Agriculture does not have any trained personnel in this area,” according to Miguel Castro, director of the ministry’s organic agriculture program, which has a staff of one and a half (TT, April 7).


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