Bureaucratic slowness upsets the nation’s food producers

Costa Rica’s food industry is asking President Laura Chinchilla to intervene and fix the bureaucratic delay that hampers their ability to register products for sale. The Cámara Costarricense de la Industria Alimentaria sent a letter to Ms. Chinchilla to alert her to these common dilemmas faced by food companies every day.

The chamber’s president, José Manuel Hernando, said that business owners have been awaiting more efficient systems that can reduce costs and time. He noted that the owners told the organization that Costa Rica has the available technologies to speed up these simple processes, yet they are being withheld from the small businesses.

“They told us results of the current system tend to deteriorate with consequential damage to production and commercial activity,” said Hernando in the letter. “They have to wait numerous months to conduct a simple renovation.”

For the past few years, the Cámara has begged the government to take action in regard to modernizing the food industry’s infrastructure. Group leaders said they had expected there would have been more progress made by now, but instead say that registration procedures that should take mere minutes continue to get bogged down for more than two months at a time. Business practitioners complain that mounting disadvantages are piled against them as the elongated process freezes their ability to trade and cripples export opportunities.

Hernando echoed these concerns over competition. He said that food companies from other nations will continue to enjoy more international trade success than the domestic businesses because they are not subjected to these same launch delays.

“Given the situation and the deterioration of this service industry, we are asking for a strategy to analyze why this problem hasn’t been resolved,” Hernando said. “At the same time we can evaluate alternative solutions, which the food industry can use for its benefit.”

Registration is required for all new products and for existing products that have been changed in some way. Also imported products also must be registered before they can be sold.

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