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Market insights on Panamanian and Costa Rican agricultureqrcode

Sep. 23, 2016

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Sep. 23, 2016
Representing roughly only 3% of Panama’s economy, its agriculture is mainly destined for local consumption. The only crop dedicated for exports is banana, with limited acreage, and most of it dominated by only one producer. Even though most of Panama’s agricultural production is destined for local consumption, it still has a deficit of approximately 40% in corn and rice, and thus has to rely on imports to satisfy local demand.

Representing a relatively small percentage of the economy, Panama’s agriculture is seen by some as marginalized in regards to political strategies, and thus, very vulnerable to free trade agreements and yield reductions because of changes in weather patterns.     

The market is almost evenly distributed between big, medium and small farmers, which generally require long term financing. The company Grupo Fertica notes that a major hurdle in the business is the low access to credit its small and medium growers.

The following table shows the main crops (by area) and corresponding pests/diseases/weeds in the Panamanian market:

The Costa Rican agricultural sector is composed by a combination of transnational companies, such as Dole and Del Monte, as well as large companies as Tico Fruit and Del Oro among others, being all of their production destiny the export market.

A second group is represented by a larger number of medium sized customers, which produce for both export and local markets.

Finally, there is a group of small growers which basically produce for the local market. Most of these are served thru distributors and retail outlets located throughout the country.

Despite of being essential in Costa Ricans diet, both rice and beans production is insufficient to satisfy local demand, and about 50% and 65% of required volume has to be imported, respectively. Costa Rica is the less atomized market in Central America.

As most of the countries in the region, El Niño phenomenon has severely impacted agricultural activity, particularly in the last quarter of 2014, in which the sector showed a 12.2% reduction in its GNP participation.

The following table shows the main crops (by area) and corresponding pests/diseases/weeds in the Costa Rican market:

Source: AgroNews

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