Costa Rica's melon exports on healthy growth trajectory
Costa Rican melon exports are looking strong with US$65.7 million worth of shipments so far with the prospect of exceeding last year's US$66.9 million, according to the country's commercial export promoter (PROCOMER).
In 2011, more than 140,000 metric tons (MT) of melons were exported with the Netherlands overtaking the U.S., importing US$22.3 million worth of the fruit compared to the U.S. at US$20 million.
Costa Rica is now the largest melon supplier to Europe and the third largest melon supplier in the U.S.
The country continues to be the largest pineapple exporter in the world with exports this year until the end of July at US$468.5 million with the U.S. the largest market accounting for US$223 million.
In 2011, 1.72 million metric tons (MT) were sent abroad with the U.K. and the Netherlands the next biggest importers after the U.S.; destination markets grew from 34 in 2009 to 43 in 2011.
Bananas, however, have fared less well showing a drop in export markets from 36 in 2009 to just 30 in 2011. In 2011, 2 million MT of bananas were shipped abroad with the U.S. accounting for 934,889MT at a value of US$365.6 million.
The U.K. was the next biggest market accounting for US$278 million with Belgium in third place at US$ 177 million.
So far this year Costa Rica has exported more than US$93.5 million of bananas with key export destinations changing -Italy now occupies third place at US$33.6 million pushing Belgian into fifth place with US$23.6 million.
Agriculture accounts for 8% of Costa Rica's gross domestic product with one in seven of the country's four million population working in the sector.