Apples to Oranges, or rather Coffee to Bananas!

For today we visited two different kinds of plantations. Pineapples and Bananas! Both were awesome and really shed some light on the supply chain of simpler products like native fruits in the country. Because of this I’d like to compare and contrast the supply chain between the local fruit farms to the coffee farms we’ve visited this week. To start, the biggest similarity between the two is the shear size of each respective industry. Both of these products are some of Costa Rica’s main selling points and represent the market as a whole. For instance, the top three crops in Costa Rica are coffee, bananas, and pineapples. Next, they all face some similar issues. To be more specific, things like pesticides, climate change, and COVID. This also means similar solutions. For things like pesticides many of these farms tend to use plants that will distract the bugs from the crops. For climate change each tour teaches ways to help with sustainability and how to plant crops similar to theirs at home (specifically the pineapples)! Another notable similarity is the use of immigrant markets in each field. This might be why it seems that Costa Rica tends to rely on the Nicaraguans a lot for labor intensive jobs. Each job requires a certain amount of hands to help out and more often than not it tends to be the immigrants. Lastly, they all help the community a lot. Coffee attracts tourism, and creates many jobs in the field. The banana farm does a lot of the same by providing locals with job opportunities along with teaching the community how to cook. The Pineapple farm also has many different jobs in the fields. Now time for some differences. First, coffee has various levels of operations it has to go through on the supply chain before reaching the consumer, where fruit (in most cases) goes to the farm to local vendors. Coffee has to be grown on a farm, then be taken to a roaster, next to a factory, and finally it’s sold out to the public. Next, they are both stored differently. The fruits have to be refrigerated; however, coffee just needs to be packed. This creates various different elements in terms of shipping and keeping a product at its best quality.

This brings to the question of if I was a worker on a farm which farm would I want to work on? After seeing everything today, I think that it would have to be the coffee farm for a few reasons. The first being the fact that I’m a social person, so if I had friends in the field with me it’d honestly be fun. Talking about whatever while getting some hard labor done sounds great. Also, the pay is extremely good for immigrant workers like Nicaraguans. This is due to the fact that they are paid in dollars instead of their native currency. Another big factor in picking the farm has to be the weather. The weather on both the banana and pineapple plantations were extremely hot, unbearable even. Although, coffee farms are high up and much cooler in temperature as well. The humidity today was outrageous, personally I could not deal with that for 12 hours every day for months on end. For those reasons and those reasons alone I’d rather be a coffee farmer.

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