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Costa Rica Accounts for 84% of U.S. Pineapple Imports

According to information provided by the Foreign Trade Promoter of Costa Rica (Procomer), the country has positioned itself as the main exporter of fresh pineapple in the world. The United States stands out as the main destination for the fruit.

To learn about the current situation of the pineapple trade in Costa Rica, FreshFruitPortal.com spoke with the president of the National Chamber of Pineapple Producers and Exporters (CANAPEP), Abel Chaves, who says that, “pineapple contributes 1.90% of the country’s GDP, which is an important economic factor and the agricultural GDP that pineapple represents within the country’s agro-export activity is around 34%.”


Chaves indicates that the United States and Europe have been the markets with the highest concentration of fruit shipments. 

“Our shipments to Asia make up a low percentage of our total exports. Now we were sending some pink pineapples to the Middle East, but in Asia, the volumes went down because we have problems with transit times,” says Chaves.

He explained that one of the difficulties in the Middle East is due to the fact that they have not found a good route, and transit times are long. “Because currently, we have to leave Costa Rica and transit to Italy and change ships, moving the fruit to reach the Middle East.” 

Regarding the China market, he indicates that the fruit must leave through the Pacific and the ships must stop in Mexico, to take the direct route to Asia. “In the case of Asia, the pineapple had good success at the beginning, the problem was that later they wanted to see the pineapple with a better external color.”

United States

CANAPEP’s president defines the U.S. market as curious “because when we started growth in production and exports to that market, per capita consumption of pineapple was low because most of the fruit that came from Mexico did not fulfill their quality expectations. 

Chaves comments that they entered the U.S. market with the Golden mb-2 pineapple, “which turned around the situation and today we supply 84% of the fruit. In other words, we have taken over the market on the East and West coasts and in the central part of the country.”

Currently, the United States receives pineapple from Mexico, Ecuador, Honduras, and Panama. “But you have to see the leadership that Costa Rica has acquired,” says Chaves. 


Costa Rica’s pineapple production level has reached its peak, Chaves says. “Today we have more or less in production about 48,000 hectares (120,000 acres), generating a volume of more than 160,000 containers per year of fresh pineapple. And week after week, an average of 2,300 containers are shipped from here to different markets.”

He adds that at an industry level, pineapple has evolved from being considered a luxury fruit to one of daily consumption. 

“The fruit has nutritional properties, the whole culinary part with the preparation of certain dishes, as well as its health benefits have caused the increase in consumption. I think that from that point of view, the per capita consumption has been rising and added to the growth of the world population,” says Chaves.