Agriculture minster cites low productivity

Costa Rican farmers produce just 17 to 20 percent of the beans residents of the country consume, and the rest have to be made up from imports.

That was the report Tuesday from Luis Felipe Arauz Cavallini, the new minister of Agricultura y Ganadería, who appeared before the legislative committee.

He said the country has the capacity to bring that percentage of locally grown beans to about 60 percent. He said the average yield is about 700 kilos a hectare while test plots by universities can produce as much as a ton on the same amount of land.

He said the problems in agriculture are what he called disorderly administration, the low productivity of some government workers and the inadequate institutional culture. As an example, he cited the Consejo Nacional de la Producción that spent 222 million colons in 2013 to help finance the Juegos Deportivos Centroamericanos, something that has nothing to do with agriculture. That is nearly $400,000.

The minister pointed out that agriculture produces 12.5 percent of the gross internal product each years and 65 percent of the calories and 60 percent of the protein consumed in the country.

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