Costa Rica

GIEWS Country Brief: Costa Rica 10-May-2021

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Favourable weather forecasts boost yield prospects for 2021 main season

  • Paddy production in 2020 estimated at below‑average level

  • Cereal import requirements anticipated at high levels in 2020/21 marketing year

  • Prices of black beans strengthened in March following seasonal trends

Favourable weather forecasts boost yield prospects for 2021 main season

Planting operations of the 2021 main season paddy and maize crops are underway at a slow pace due to above‑average rainfall amounts in April. However, the seasonal outlook is favourable as the weather forecast points to average to slightly above‑average precipitation amounts in the May‑July period, which coincides with the critical crop development and flowering stages. The planted area of the main paddy crop is expected at a below‑average level, as the decreasing trend observed during the last ten years is likely to continue.

Paddy production in 2020 estimated at below‑average level

Harvesting of the 2020 second (minor) season paddy crop, predominantly irrigated, is ongoing in the key producing province of Guanacaste. Crop yields are expected to be above average due to favourable weather conditions and adequate irrigation water supplies in the first quarter of 2021. With the main season crop harvested in the August‑December 2020 period, the 2020 paddy production is expected at a below‑average level of 145 000 tonnes. The low level mainly reflects the steady decline in plantings as farmers prefer to cultivate more remunerative horticulture crops.

Cereal import requirements anticipated at high levels in 2020/21 marketing year

Cereal imports in the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June) are anticipated at a high level of 1.47 million tonnes, mainly due to rising demand for yellow maize by the domestic feed sector. Imports of wheat grain and flour are also forecast at high levels, reflecting the sustained demand for human consumption.

Prices of black beans strengthened in March following seasonal trends

Retail prices of black beans strengthened seasonally during the first quarter of 2021 and, as of March, they were more than 5 percent above the level of one year before. The year‑on‑year higher levels reflect the upsurge of retail demand amidst the COVID‑19 pandemic. Prices of maize were mostly stable throughout the 2020 and the first quarter of 2021 reflecting adequate imports. Similarly, prices of rice have been overall stable as they are regulated by the Government.