OPINION – On September 26, 2015, I published an article on the Q entitled: “Costa Rica Rice Crop Failure Due To Drought: Could This Be A Blessing in Disguise?”.
Today (Monday) in La Nacion, I note an article where the Government, due to the rice crop failures and consequential rice shortages, brought about by the drought caused by the “El Nino” phenomenon, is preparing a Decree to allow the importation of rice, without imposing the protectionist tariff, designed to protect and subsidize Costa Rican rice farmers.
The net result will be a lower cost for rice for all consumers, as I predicted might well be the case, as was stated in my previous blog. Hence, the “blessing” has been unveiled.
I have never understood why local rice farmers can’t grow rice at competitive prices with, or indeed lower prices than, imported rice. My only thinking is that the rice farmers enjoy a very strong political lobby in Costa Rica.
In my opinion, since rice is such a staple product in the Costa Rican diet (gallo pinto, etc.), it is particularly unfair to charge consumers, especially the poor, a subsidy on the price of rice, only for the benefit of the rice farmers, many, if not all, who are very wealthy in their own right. I believe that if you can’t grow rice competitively, then grow a different crop such as pineapple, that is competitive.
Costa Ricans suffer enough from all sorts of unfair tax levies and assessments, perpetrated by a never ending succession of corrupt and biased Governments.
Protectionist import duties on vehicles, when there is no vehicle industry in Costa Rica to protect; excessive gasoline taxes; and increasing the taxable value of older vehicles as they become older, to name but a few.
It is time that the Costa Rican government is held accountable by the taxpayers for these unfair and abusive practices.