Costa Rica’s extensive development into the world agriculture market was made possible in large part by their booming coffee industry. Costa Rica made a name for itself not by producing large amounts of coffee, like Brazil or Columbia, but rather by creating very precise, high-quality gourmet blends of coffee that cost more to produce and sell for more on the world market.
The benefits of Costa Rica’s huge coffee boom over the past 50 years are many. One of the most important of these is that the government has been able to make a large amount of money off of the taxation and regulations they placed on coffee exports, allowing them to sponsor more social programs for Costa Rican citizens. Another example of these benefits is the international recognition and notoriety that the country has received as a result of the coffee boom. Costa Rica was able to make a name for itself in this way and show that it can be a competitor on the world economic stage.
Costa Rica’s entrance into major political and economic circles has led to two additional areas of gain; new trade partnerships with other countries and a growth in the tourism industry. As more large countries such as the United States became aware of Costa Rica’s booming economy, they became much more willing to invest in trade deals with Costa Rica, which led to more economic influence and prosperity for the small Central American nation. As a result of more notoriety, governmental stability, and ecological preservation, ecotourism blossomed as a popular attraction in Costa Rica. Tourists bring more money into the country, benefitting its government and citizens alike.
Costa Rican coffee exports have also increased greatly after the coffee boom. When taken at face value, this appears to be an excellent development for Ticos. However, with such high prices being given for Costa Rican coffee on the international market, citizens of the country are not left with the best quality coffee products, even though gourmet coffee is being produced in their home country. While the quality of most coffee being sold in Costa Rica is not terrible, it is generally markedly lower than what is sold on the international market. This is a result of the high prices that Costa Rican coffee fetches overseas, and the fact that Ticos are not willing to pay such a high price for their everyday drink. Thus, it only makes sense for gourmet coffee companies to sell as much of their product overseas as possible in order to make the most profit from their enterprises. This leaves smaller, lower-quality producers as the only options for Costa Ricans since these companies cannot compete on the international level with gourmet companies.
Perhaps Ticos should deserve to have better coffee options available to them, since their country is famous for producing the drink. However, business is business, and at the end of the day coffee producers want to make the most money possible, and will tend to make decisions based on their profit margins rather than what is right. I do not think that Costa Ricans should expect better quality coffee to be made available to them until they consume more high-quality coffee. Companies will realize the increase in local markets, and begin to sell more coffee to Costa Ricans instead of overseas.