Costa Rica - Agriculture
About 9.9% (505,000 hectares/1,248,000 acres) of the total land area is used for crop production. Nearly half of all farms average less than 10 hectares (25 acres) in size. Over 327,000 persons, or about 20% of the economically active population, were engaged in farming in 1998.
Corn and sugar crops are usually sufficient to meet domestic needs, but beans and rice must be imported from time to time. Agriculture accounted for about 9% of the GDP in 2001. The principal cash crops are coffee, bananas, cocoa, and sugar. Coffee and bananas together accounted for 31% of exports in 2001, with values of $163.4 million and $501.1 million, respectively.
Over 85% of coffee properties belong to Costa Ricans. The banana industry has been producing more than one million tons of bananas annually since the 1970s. The principal marketer of Costa Rica's bananas is Standard Fruit Co. Corn, rice, potatoes, beans, sisal, cotton, citrus fruits, pita (used to make hats, baskets, and mats), yucca, vegetables, pineapples and other fruits, tobacco, abaca (hemp), and vegetable oils (especially African and coconut palms) are produced primarily for domestic consumption. Estimated crop production in 1999 (in tons) was sugar (raw), 375,000; bananas, 2,101,000; rice, 262,000; coffee, 147,000; corn, 30,000; dry beans, 17,000; and cocoa, 4,000. In 1999, agricultural output was 26% higher than the annual average during 1989–91.