Costa Rica

GIEWS Country Brief: Costa Rica 26-May-2020

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

Rice production in 2020 forecast to continue to decrease following reduced sowings

Cereal import requirements anticipated at above‑average level in 2019/20 marketing year

Prices of staple food generally stable in April

Rice production in 2020 forecast to continue to decrease following reduced sowings

Planting of the 2020 predominantly rainfed main season paddy crop is nearing completion. The planted area is estimated to continue to decline following the trend over the past ten years when farmers have shifted to more remunerative horticulture crops. Prospects for yields are favourable as rainfall amounts forecast for the June‑August period are expected at average to above‑average levels. The anticipated abundant precipitation will replenish the main reservoirs, water of which will be used for the irrigation of the second minor season rice crop.

Cereal import requirements anticipated at above‑average level in 2019/20 marketing year

Cereal imports in the 2019/20 marketing year (July/June) are anticipated at about 1.3 million tonnes, about 8 percent higher than the last five‑year average. Imports of maize, accounting for about 70 percent of the total cereal imports, are on the rise reflecting the high demand by the domestic feed sector. Imports of wheat grain and flour are expected at a slightly above‑average level due to sustained demand for human consumption.

Prices of staple food generally stable in April

After some increases during the last months, prices of white maize stabilized in April as lower prices of maize imported from the United States of America exerted downward pressure. Prices of black beans declined during the first quarter of 2020 due to the increased harvests in 2019 but strengthened seasonally in April. Prices of rice have been overall stable as these are regulated by the Government.

COVID‑19 and measures adopted by the Government

In an effort to secure domestic food supplies and stabilize market prices amid the COVID‑19 pandemic, the Government temporarily lowered the tariff of imports of 50 000 tonnes of rice (one‑third of the average imports in the previous five years) from 35 percent to 6.5 percent in 2020. The Government also increased its social spending by distributing food kits to 850 000 students in the absence of school meals and allocating a monthly subsidy worth CRC 200 000 (about USD 350 at the exchange rate of 21 May 2020) for three months to about 375 000 households that have been economically affected by the crisis.