Costa Rican pineapple exports were significantly lower in the first half of 2015 compared with the previous year, with adverse weather conditions and unfavourable exchange rates contributing to the decline. Volumes of the tropical fruit shipped between January and June were 15% lower year-on-year, with a total of 933,800 tonnes, according to the Ministry of Finance (MoF).
Severe flooding hit the country in June, and government minister Sergio Alfaro estimated that pineapple losses could reach 20m boxes, with more than 18,000 hectares of fields damaged. Exchange rates have also hit exports over the past year, with the Costa Rican colón rising against the euro and, to a lesser extent, against the US dollar since August 2014.
Exports to the US – by far the industry’s largest market – were down 19% over the period, at 473,000 tonnes, while shipments to the Netherlands were 7% down at 144,000 tonnes. According to US Department of Agriculture figures, Costa Rica had an 83% share of the US pineapple market in June and July, with Honduras and Mexico taking 8% and 6% respectively.
Some markets did take more fruit from Costa Rica than in the previous year, with exports to Spain up 9%, Belgium 13% and Russia 27%, according to the MoF. However, these countries each receive less than 10% of total exports, with additional shipments to Russia representing only 2,198 tonnes.