According to the sector’s union, in 2017 consumption of milk and its derivatives reached 212 liters per capita, 33% above the level recommended by international health agencies.

Costa Rica has 28,000 milk producers, with 13,000 specialized farms and 15,000 double-purpose farms (milk and meat), according to the latest agricultural census. Photo: Melissa Fernández Silva / La Nacion

According to the Cámara Nacional de Productores de Leche (Caprole) – National Chamber of Milk Producers, growth in milk production recorded in the country in recent years, is explained by an increase in domestic demand and a rise in exports to Central America and the Caribbean.

The average consumption in Central America, according to data provided by Caprole, is 108 liters per person per year, which leaves Costa Rica with a remarkable relative position.

Regarding production, Nacion.com reports that ” … In 2010, Costa Rica achieved a production of 953 million metric tons of milk, a figure that was already at 1.015 million tons in 2012 and that last year closed at 1.144 million.”

Regarding the opportunities to continue increasing domestic consumption, Álvaro Coto Keith, president of Caprole, explained that ” … Costa Rica still has room to increase food consumption, especially through the modality of “eating milk”, that is, with the increase in demand for derivatives, such as cheeses, custard, butter, yogurt and others. It is in this way, especially with consumers switching from fresh cheese to mature processed cheese, that Europeans are increasing demand.”

For his part, Bernardo Jaén, vice minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), warned that in the country there are two segments in the dairy sector: One with a high productive performance, excellent genetic quality and very good administration of the productive units; The other, specialized, oriented to elaborate especially artisan cheeses and semi-processed products.