Costa Rica is well-known for pineapple exportation. In order to market this fruit, all of the country’s producers – whether small, medium-size, or large – must follow quality standards related to innocuousness, plant health, environmental protection, and occupation health regulations, among other essential aspects.
Procedures for pineapple production in Costa Rica
Costa Rica’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the State Plant Health Service and the Agricultural Extension Service joined forces to put together a series of mandatory practices for the quality production of pineapple. These can be found in the Good Agricultural Practices for Pineapple Production Manual. Below, we will share an overview of support procedures and operating procedures.
The general framework for sustainable agricultural production can be found in the support procedures guidelines, which include training, traceability, plantation history, soil management, seed management, and the use of agricultural imputs, all of which are based on current national and international regulations. Here, we will mention three of these procedures.
One of the most important good practices to have is a training or systematic training program regarding agricultural tasks, hygiene measures, and sanitation standards, that allows all workers to be knowledgeable about what to do, how to do it, why to do it, and who to talk to if there are any doubts. The following are the areas of training:
- The management of synthetic and non-synthetic agrochemicals (pesticides and fertilizers).
- The assessment of application equipment.
- Soil management and conservation.
- Integrated pest management.
- The management of fruit in the field and during harvesting, packing, and transportation.
- Hygiene, health, and occupational safety.
- The use of logs or records that indicate the tasks that are being carried out on the farm.
This practice aims to “minimize the negative impacts on soil where situations such as sloping, deforestation, erosion, and tillage can occur due to improper practices.” Essentially, the aim is to guarantee the sustainable management of soil. This is accomplished through documenting the history of how the soil has been used, which allows risks to be determined, and the necessary measures to be taken so that production is not affected.
This includes a series of procedures that must be followed by farmers to ensure the that fertilizers and pesticides are being used rationally, that the quality and origins of seeds comply with standards, that seeds are pest-free, and that they are authorized for pineapple cultivation in Costa Rica.
You may also want to read: The pineapple planting and harvesting process
In order to ensure the production of high-quality pineapple, it’s necessary to follow operating procedures based on good agricultural practices, which include: using a diagram of tasks for a commercial pineapple plantation, soil preparation, seed selection and management, planting, weed and pest control, granular and foliar fertilization, and harvesting.
Water Quality and Usage
For optimal pineapple production, it’s necessary to follow certain predetermined steps that allow water quality to be checked. This ensures that the plants are receiving enough moisture to grow, while avoiding biological or chemical contamination from the water. Some of the steps to follow are:
- Analyzing the microbiological and physio-chemical quality of water sources at least twice a year.
- Implementing corrective actions to prevent contamination.
- Conducting periodical assessments of irrigation requirements.
- Applying wastewater treatment to prevent the contamination of soil and water sources.
To harvest the fruit at the right time, it’s necessary to follow a series of general regulations that comply with customer requirements and the established plant health guidelines. To plan a harvest, the amount of fruit that will be sent, weather conditions, hygiene, and transportation, among other factors, must be taken into consideration.
Some of these regulations include:
- Cutting the fruit by hand by holding the leaves and bending the fruit until breaking the stem.
- Placing the fruit on a conveyer belt to be deposited in a metal container, for large companies, or in a plastic box, for small and medium-sized producers.
- Avoiding contact between the boxes and the ground.
- The disposal of boxes of fruit if they make contact with the ground.
Importing pineapple requires the selection of the best suppliers. High quality standards, as well as the control and promotion of good pineapple production practices that are required in Costa Rica make this country one of the most popular pineapple exporters.