Until November 2011, the Coffee Institute of Costa Rica (Icafe) recorded imports of coffee totalling 208,008 bags, each weighing 46 kilos, which is 25% more than in 2010.
Between 2008 and 2010, the volume of coffee imports increased sharply due to serious local supply problems, reported Elfinancierocr.com. However, there has been a decrease in imports and increased domestic production of coffee.
"Imports have dropped significantly, partly because there were sufficient stocks among traders and roasters. The new crop will be sold at market prices," explained José Manuel Hernando, chairman of the Costa Rican Chamber of Roasters.
An experienced farmer explains how this situation of low and insufficient domestic production came to be.
"20 years ago, recalled Rafael Hernandez, president of the Specialty Coffee Association, Costa Rica had the highest productivity per area of any country in the world. Then came the price crisis in the mid 90’s and the year 2000 and some farmers abandoned their farms, others treated them with less care. Both scenarios resulted in low production."
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Low production and the rising international price of the bean concern the Toasters Chamber.
The anticipated decline in domestic bean harvest for 2010-2011 due to damage caused by rains, extends the downward trend in production which the country has followed over the last decade.
Roasters are asking the Government to liberalize trade with Peru so they can have competitive access to the green coffee produced in that country.
The severe contraction of the national coffee production sector is of concern to the toasters, which are struggling to ensure market supply.
Costa Rican coffee roasters want to import coffee grain tax free due to a shortages in national production, which is denied by growers.
Costa Rica's Coffee Roasters' Association stated that in 2010 there was a 40% shortage in supplies for the internal market, which needed to be imported.
The agro-food chain of coffee needs complete renovation, with a vision focused on value added, productivity and competitiveness from the producer all the way to the industrial sector.
The Chamber of Coffee Roasters, representing the national roasting industry, is concerned about further price increases to final consumers due to shortage in local supply of coffee and the high price of the bean.