The cost of these products rose by 7.33% in January, compared to the same period in 2014, according to the Consumer Price Inces (Spanish: índice de precios al consumidor or IPC), released yesterday by the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC).
This is the biggest increase since March 2011, when the index for the group of products reached 7.82%.
Despite the increase, the overall inflation in Costa Rica in the last 12 months was 4.39%, within the range of 3% to 5% expected by the Central Bank.
Responsible for the rising prices in the food group and soft drinks were fruits and vegetables. According to the INEC, the price of fruits increased 20.7% and vegetables, 15.4%.
The Agricultural sector blames climactic factors. “We have had droughts in some parts of the country. Then, downpours and hail in other areas. And in recent weeks, strong wind gusts that have affected crops in upland regions,” said Guido Vargas, secretary general of the Union of Small and Medium National Farmers (Upanacional).
Juan Rafael Lizano, President of the National Chamber of Agriculture and Agribusiness, emphasized that the lower supply of agricultural products immediately gave rise to prices.
Mario Montero, executive director of the Costa Rican Chamber of Food Industry, said that although the cost of some raw materials fell, prices of products made in the country did not.