The Costs of Certified Food: Just Pineapple Production in Costa Rica

Dr. Sang Lee, College of Natural Resources

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Focusing on the case study of pineapple production in northern Costa Rica, Dr. Sang discusses how state institutions became replaced by private organizations, small producers were pushed out of pineapple production while others were forced to sharecrop, and there was a rise in contract farming, resulting in the further exploitation of migrant farm workers.

 The dramatic increase in the production and export of tropical and off season fruits produced in the global south has distanced consumers and producers. It has created consumer anxieties around food production practices related to hygiene, environment, and labor. In today’s global food market, these consumer concerns are assuaged through third party certification (TPC).  This presentation is an examination of how TPC, namely GlobalGAP, has influenced the function of institutions, producers, and often ignored farm workers in the industry, provides insight into shifting agricultural production in the global south vis-à-vis TPCs. Focusing on the case study of pineapple production in northern Costa Rica, we'll discuss how state institutions became replaced by private organizations, small producers were pushed out of pineapple production while others were forced to sharecrop, and there was a rise in contract farming, resulting in the further exploitation of migrant farm workers.