Costa Rica declared a national emergency in December of 2013 due to a plague of cocchineal scale bugs. Costa Rica is one of the world’s top producers of bananas, and the army of insects put over half a billion dollars of exports at risk.
We at Prosoft Nearshore are pulling for the farmers, landowners, and people of Costa Rica to recover. It has been reported by the Costa Rican Phytosanitary Servce that up to 20% of their crop for the coming year is at risk.
It’s unfortunate that Costa Rica’s own proactive measures may have encouraged the infestation. Recognizing the risk to their gorgeous indigenous ecosystems, Costa Rica clamped down on the use of insecticide in 2012. By trying to be environmentally responsible, the Costa Ricans may have courted an economic problem. But trade officials claim that there is no intention of resuming the dangerous use of heavy insecticides.
It is important to know that the bananas themselves aren’t compromised, merely their appearance. But foreign consumers are reluctant to purchase crops of bananas with unsightly brown peels. It is short-sighted, but the fact remains that Americans in particular are hesitant to purchase anything that doesn’t look familiar. Even when the product itself is perfectly normal.
Bananas and coffee are Costa Rica’s two biggest exports. But more and more, the nation is importing business. By having multiple universities specializing in software development, many companies like Prosoft Nearshore are recognizing the value of outsourcing software development positions to Central American countries like Costa Rica.
Prosoft Nearshore wishes all the best to the wonderful people of Costa Rica as they deal with this environmental issue. We also salute the government and economic officials who are dealing with the problem quickly and responsibly. Hopefully, the financial benefit of nearshore outsourcing will help them weather this storm of insects.