The growth of construction sector in Nicaragua has been a good thing for the country but not for its neighbor Costa Rica, because the Costa Rican agricultural sector normally uses labor from Nicaragua at fruit harvesting time, especially for coffee, pineapple, melon and sugarcane.
It is estimated that with the favorable conditions in the construction sector in Nicaragua, which has picked up significantly in recent months and which is very labor-intensive, workers will prefer to stay at home and work on construction sites in instead of moving to Costa Rica to work in agriculture.
However, in Costa Rica different impacts are predicted for different sectors.
An article in nacion.com reports: "Edgar Rojas, deputy executive director of the Costa Rica Coffee Institute (Icafe), said the situation probably will not affect the grain harvest this year, although the industry is concerned about the implications it may have for the future.
Melon producers are less concerned, José Antonio Urgellés, vice president of the National Chamber of Melon Producers and Exporters, explained that this activity is likely to suffer from a reduction in the production area, so it will require less labor. "
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Costa Rica needs 75,000 coffee pickers for the harvesting which starts in November and another 7,350 people to harvest sugar cane and melon.
This was announced by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MTSS) who in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agro-Industrial Sugarcane League (LAY) and the Costa Rican Coffee Institute (iCafe), conducted a campaign to find those 82,350 employees for the harvest season which runs from November to April.
Coffee farmers in Turrialba, Perez Zeledon and other zones are currently paying up to $1.63 (900 colones) per basket to harvesters.
The higher wages for harvesters is due to two factors: one, that ripening is just barely starting, and two, the lack of harvesters has farmers competing for workers.
The 2011-2012 coffee crop in Honduras could double last seasons, but runs the risk of being spoiled before it can be collected in its entirety due to lack of workers.
With crops already ripened, 200,000 workers are needed to join the 800,000 who already are working, in order to collect the whole crop.
The harvest of sugar, coffee, melon and other agricultural products is awaiting the arrival of Nicaraguan labor.
In Costa Rica, the harvesting of coffee, sugar cane, cantaloupe, watermelon, mango, orange, and pineapple starts in October. These sectors compete for workers who mainly come from Nicaragua.