The health emergency caused by the Coronavirus increased the demand for healthy, quality and agrochemical-free products, between 15 and 20 percent, according to Nelson Paniagua, Partner of the Guadalupe Natural Farm, located in Zarcero de Alajuela.
According to Paniagua, the impact of Covid-19 translated into greater consumer concern for looking for vegetables, legumes -and other products- harvested naturally.
According to the Partner of the Farm -a project started in 1992 and which currently generates 60 jobs (40 direct and 20 indirect)- the pandemic “revalued” the need for a healthy diet with the support of an entity of international prestige (organic seal).
The 10-hectare farm -located in Barrio Guadalupe de Zarcero- is backed by the Kiwa BCS-Costa Rica Certification Agency, which granted this condition 10 years ago (2012).
Change in the culture of consumers
“We have even noticed a change in the culture of consumers, in the supermarkets we supply, customers request the organic seal of the products, that is, they have become more demanding because in the current circumstances it is almost an imperative to buy food free of substances such as pesticides and herbicides” highlighted Paniagua.
Currently, Finca Guadalupe Natural has a portfolio of 32 products such as; for example, legumes, potatoes, onion, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, parsley, leek and chives, among others.
“Due to the current situation of Covid-19, we have noticed an increase in demand, since customers do not buy anywhere. People want to eat healthier, they pay attention to the traceability of what they buy and; in addition, that there is technical support from a certifying agency,” Paniagua stressed.
The Partner of Finca Guadalupe Natutal stressed that this type of production requires greater credit support and related government institutions to increase the volume in the face of a demand that in the future is “a fact that will continue to increase.”
“State banks should have lines of financing especially aimed at this sector in order to make a much greater quantitative leap with a double benefit for the farmer and the buyer, apart from the public health benefits that would be enormous,” Paniagua recommended.
Humberto González, Manager of Kiwa BCS-Costa Rica, highlighted that the organic market has already managed to position itself thanks to a “significant transformation” of the habits of the new generations, among other reasons.
“The future of this agriculture is more than promising. The scenario of these months has only finished confirming a trend from many years ago and; that without a doubt is here to stay”, highlighted González.
Data from the Foreign Trade Promoter (PROCOMER) indicate that in the world between 2011 and 2017 the production of organic food grew at an average annual rate of 36 percent. In addition, sales rose more than 11 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year, reaching $103,917 million.