Costa Rica 2018 | AGRICULTURE | COLUMN

TBY talks to Abel Chaves, President, National Chamber of Pineapple Producers (CANAPEP), on the sector.

Abel Chaves

How does CANAPEP support pineapple producers?

The chamber was created in May 2003 for producers to comply with regulations that affect our export business to Europe. At the time, local pineapple production had started and producers were making the switch from bananas to pineapples. Even livestock farmers and sugar and coffee producers started producing pineapples. Practically, the whole agro-sector started to migrate. At first, there was a lot of trouble because we did not have the capacity to produce the seed. However, soon we were supplying seeds to Colombia, Panama, Brazil, Guatemala, and Cuba. When the EU market grew, we saw a major boost in production and growing areas, to such an extent that Costa Rica became the first fresh pineapple exporting country in the world. Other countries had larger production areas, but Costa Rica produces 2.9 tons per hectare, above Brazil with 2.6, the Philippines with 2.5, and Thailand with 1.9.

What are the main regions that grow pineapples?

They are mostly in the Huetar Norte region: San Carlos, Upala, and Los Chiles. We also have production in the Caribbean region, but this zone is a mostly a banana producer. Pineapple production is concentrated in the north where we have helped many communities develop.