Prices of Rice, Milk To Surge 34% and 8%

July 4, 2008

Two food staples, milk and rice, are set to become much more expensive this summer.

Dos Pinos, which has a near-monopoly on milk sales, increased prices by 8 percent this week, following a 5 percent hike in March. The price of rice, a cornerstone of  the Tico diet, will surge 30 percent in August, according to the Economy Ministry.

Food prices have spiked across the globe due to rising oil prices, increasing demand for food by developing countries, and the use of grain crops to make biofuel.

In Costa Rica, food and non-alcoholic beverages have become nearly 24 percent more expensive since last July, according to the National Statistics and Census Institute (INEC).

A liter of Dos Pinos milk now costs ¢400 (80¢), up from ¢355 (71¢) in March.

Other dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and ice cream have also become more expensive.

Beginning in August, a two-kilogram bag of rice will cost about ¢1,190 ($2.38), up from ¢914 ($1.83) today, said Economy Vice Minister Eduardo Sibaja.

While all other food prices float on the free market, the Economy Ministry fixes the price of rice based on world prices and prices paid to local farmers. Costa Rica imports about half of the 18,300 metric tons consumed here each month. The average Tico eats 55 kilos of rice a year.

Gillian Gillers

 

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