Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a relatively small producer with high R&R need driven by age of trees, disease and climate change

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R&R Need

~75% of land is in need of

SHF land in R&R need

‘000 hectares

20,000 ha No need
61,000 ha R&R need

Need is mostly driven by high age of trees (75% of trees have passed peak productivity), but also La Roya (affects 40% of trees) and climate change.

Current SHF yield & potential uplift

Tons per hectare

Current yield
Target yield

Uplift potential


Significant uplift for SHFs, though little impact on supply.

Potential increase in supply


Total national supply could increase ~10-50% if R&R and GAP is implemented on all SHF land in need of R&R2

(1) The current yield is based on a specific estimate from the Coffee Institute of Costa Rica (ICAFE) and does not correspond to a manual calculation of SHF production divided with SHF land.
(2) Rounded to the nearest 5%, estimate assumes that R&R and GAP increase yields with 100%, and the range reflects a 25-100% R&R success rate. Sources: Dalberg interviews.

Other Viability Considerations

  • Costa Rica has a well-functioning and transparent coffee sector that is relatively easy to invest in.
  • Production costs are high compared to other countries – partly as a result of government regulation: There is a relatively high minimum wage and imposition of 42% of social security tax.
  • There is a strong enabling environment that contributes to the well-functioning of the coffee sector.
  • Diversification of income is needed – it takes around eight hectares to sustain a family of five, but average SHF farm size is around three hectares.
  • Farmer share of the coffee price is guaranteed by law.

Farmer Segmentation

Production is dominated by strong SHFs

  1. Large & medium farmers
  2. Commercial farmers in tight value chains
  3. Commercial farmers in loose value chains
  4. Disconnected farmers

National production is dominated by SHFs in tight value chains

Around 45% of SHFs are connected to coops and micro-mills. Farmer organizations are well run and help to conduct R&R. Farmers receive support to market efficiently through Banking System for Development.

# SHFs



~0.5% of global SHFs

# SHF land

‘000 hectares


(~97% of national land) – farm size typically ~3 hectares1

# SHF production

‘000 hectares


(~60% of national production)

Assessment of SHF orgs.

SHFs are typically organized in coops and micro-mills.

Links to market

A majority of SHFs have strong links to market.


(1) Again, these are specific estimates from ICAFE that do not correspond with the FAO 2014 total production and land numbers on the previous page. Sources: USDA, Costa Rica's coffee production expected to decline in 2012- 2013, 2013; Dalberg interviews.

Enabling Environment for R&R

  • Coffee share of GDP: 0.7% in 2011 - Coffee exportsreached $374.9 million in calendar year 2011.
  • 55 of 81 cantons produce coffee – coffee is a majorsector geographically and politically.
  • There is strong political support and the coffee sectoris tightly regulated for increased transparency.
  • Costa Rica has authorized seed production programs.
  • The Coffee Institute of Costa Rica produces the seedsand a government body regulates this production.
  • The Banking System for Development helps finance coffee production and R&R.
  • Farmers have access to flexible loan products through public bank
  • The Coffee Institute of Costa Rica has a national research centre on coffee production.
  • SHFs cannot afford agronomists, but The Coffee Institute of Costa Rica has six regional offices that are fully in charge of implementing new capabilities for SHFs.

Examples of R&R programs

There has been a national replanting program in Costa Rica in recent years

National Program for Coffee Plantation Renewal (PNRC)

National replanting program with objective to replant 16,000 hectares, with funding of USD 81 million. Only 16% of objective was achieved

Learn more and get involved

There is a lot of work to be done to ensure the long-term supply of coffee from countries where the crop has long shaped the social and economic fabric. Learning to extend the life of their trees and improve yields helps farmers stabilize annual production and in turn, income, while the rest of the world benefits from a steady supply of quality coffee. Continue on to learn more about the immediate attention and action that is required to make this a reality.