After nearly a month since Nicaragua banned the export of milk from Costa Rica to their country, it seems that that fire now has smoke leaving it instead of flames after both governments reached an agreement.
One of the main victims of the temporary ban has been the company Dos Pinos, who regularly ships products to the Nicaraguan market. Francisco Arias, manager of Corporate Relations of the Cooperative, said this has had effects on and will affect future actions of the company.
Francisco Arias answered the following questions about the situation and possible effects of the agreement reached on the issue.
If this is agreed to, what’s next?
“We have everything ready to continue exporting. There are many signed contracts with Nicaragua, for which we have to continue shipping products. Nicaragua is an important country that must be supplied for the Cooperative.”
Do you know about the agreement reached between the two governments?
“We do not have the details yet, what we know is that the meeting concluded on Wednesday afternoon. Although we are one of the main players in the dispute, we have remained on the sidelines, waiting for what the authorities inform us.
Has the company communicated with IPSA (Institute of Animal and Plant Health Protection) to solve the problems IPSA says your plants present?
“As far as we understand, we have fulfilled the nonconformities that they told us about, we’ve taken care of the situation fully. That review was the one they did a month ago, the one where we received the response that they had closed the border. We are surprised that we are still exporting to other countries in Central America, the Caribbean, and even the United States that have demanding quality controls in place regarding the products being shipped.”
How long has Nicaragua closed their borders for Dos Pinos products?
“We were told that we did not have permission to send in mid-June, we hope that the conflict is settled, since they (Nicaragua) continue sending milk from two milk plants there. But for our side, they banned all incoming dairy products.”
What does Nicaragua signify as a market compared with other countries in the region?
“Nicaragua is not the main milk market for Dos Pinos in Central America, we have more presence in the region Northern Triangle (Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras). But there is a significant share of customers in Nicaragua that await our products and thousands of families who already consume Dos Pinos milk in that country.”
How much in monetary terms has lost Dos Pinos by blockage of shipments to Nicaragua?
“I could not tell you how much it would be for a month, but as an average, we export between $14 million and $15 million annually to Nicaragua. It is a significant loss for the company.
You have a plant in Nicaragua. Can that plant cover the market demand there?
“We recently acquired the brand La Completa, however, it’s too small to supply the entire market. Most products are shipped from here under the brand name Dos Pinos. However, we will continue betting on La Completa to expand and strengthen operations beyond that mark.”