Costa Rica's production of oranges declined to 8 million boxes of 40.824 kg. in 2010/2011.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number:
Orange Juice Production and Trade
Kelly Stange, Agricultural Attaché
Victor Gonzalez, Agricultural Specialist
Costa Rica's production of oranges declined to 8 million boxes of 40.824 kg. in 2010/2011 but it is
expected to rebound to approximately 9 million boxes during 2011/2012. The U.S. remains as the
leading destination for Costa Rica's orange juice.
COSTA RICA: ORANGE JUICE PRODUCTION AND TRADE
Costa Rica’s orange production is concentrated in the northern part of the Alajuela province, around Los Chiles, Guatuso and
Upala, and in the northern part of Guanacaste, near the border with Nicaragua. Two companies, Ticofrut and Del Oro,
control production and processing of oranges. According to government estimates, these two companies produce roughly
70% of the oranges produced in Costa Rica. The rest is produced by medium and small size independent producers.
Production of oranges has also increased in Nicaragua, near the border with Costa Rica. According to the data from the
Costa Rican government, Costa Rica imported 54,471 MT of fresh oranges from Nicaragua during 2010. The oranges from
these plantations are trucked to Costa Rica for processing. Industry estimates put area planted at around 22,000 ha. and 6.0
million orange trees, including area planted on the Nicaraguan side of the border. Some growers are planting the “Flying
Dragon” pattern which allows for a higher number of trees per hectare. As this pattern takes hold, the number of trees should
increase in the next few years as producers replant or renovate their farms using this variety. At this point, area planted is not
expected to increase substantially, primarily as a result of concern among growers that citrus greening disease, which was
identified in February of this year in Costa Rica, may increase production costs or result in losses. Growers are trying to
contain the disease and have established strict controls to that effect. Producers have mentioned that if not for the threat of
citrus greening, area planted would probably increase, since the international price of juice concentrate, used as the basis for
payment by the processing plants, has remained very attractive over the last couple of growing seasons. According to
producers, production conditions, both in terms of climate and soils are very favorable on both sides of the Costa Rica-
Nicaragua border. A new road being built on the Costa Rican side of the border with Nicaragua is expected to create
opportunities for new area planted in oranges in the future.
Although accurate production data is not available from government or industry sources, orange production in 2010/2011
was lower than previously expected as a result of adverse weather conditions. Production reached an estimated 8 million
boxes (40.824 kg.) during that period. Production is forecast to increase to about 9 million boxes during 2011/2012 as a
result of good weather conditions during the flowering period earlier this year and new trees coming into production.
Industry sources expect total production to increase to 10.5 million boxes in 2012/2013. Output is expected to increase as a
result of improved farm management and new trees coming into production. For instance, because of its smaller size, the
new Dragon Fly pattern allows planting more than twice the number of trees of the varieties currently planted. This variety
also allows producers to reduce cultural practices. These factors are expected to result in higher yields in the future.
Costa Rica exports the majority of its orange production as frozen orange juice concentrate, but also exports non frozen
concentrate juice. According to information from the Costa Rican Trade Promotion Board (PROCOMER), during calendar
year 2010, juice exports to all destinations amounted to 49,090 MT valued at $50.6 million. Data available for 2011 (for
January-October), indicate that export value had reached $34.3 million, while volume amounted to 34,560 MT.
The United States was Costa Rica’s main destination for orange juice exports in 2010 and 2011. Exports to the U.S. reached
17,646 MT in 2010, valued at $32.9 million, and 9,495 MT valued at $18.6 million during the period January-October 2011.
Other important destinations include the Netherlands, Panama, and Nicaragua and China, in that order.
Costa Rican orange juice enters the United States duty free under the CAFTA – DR.