Coffee picking. Photo Jorge Castillo
In areas like San Vito, and Perez Zeledon Sabalito seedlings are being planted in coffee plantations, but the effort is necessary nationwide. Photo Jorge Castillo

COSTA RICA NEWS — Coffee production went from 30 bushels per  hectacre in the 2000-01 harvest to 23 in 2013, well below the current global average of 30 bushels.

Producers, cooperatives and the Instituto del Café de Costa Rica (iCafe) Coffee Institute of Costa Ricalaunched an appeal to raise the productivity of the sector, that has been falling in the last 13 years.

Currently the average coffee harvest in Costa Rica is 23 bushels (fanegas in Spanish) per hectacre, and in some areas of the country the average has fallen to as little as 15 bushels of fruit per hectare.

Nacion.com reports that “… The main cause of this problem is the age of the coffee plants. More than 36,000 hectares (40%) of the 92,000 hectares of coffee plants in the country are over 30 years old. A well maintained plant has an average productive life of three decades. It is clear that age reduces the yield of the plantations. ”

Xinia Chaves, former deputy minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and a coffee producer, added, “… In the previous administration a plan for renovating coffee plants was launched and resources were secured to subsidize the interest rates, but farmers fears blocked the advance of the program because renovation involves removing plants from one part of the property, planting new ones and having that area without production for at least three years. ”

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