Australia Enters Costa Rican Barley Market


Mar 16, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

Costa Rica is a small Barley market. However, the growth in imports since 2019 indicates demand is growing. In 2020, Costa Rica imported $54,000 of Barley and $15.2 million of malt. Canada ($22.6k), the United States ($21k), and Spain ($10.4k) supplied all Barley imports. The European Union and Argentina provided most malt imports, according to the UN Comtrade 2022 data.

On 28 February 2022, the Australian Government confirmed Australia has market access for Barley exports to Costa Rica. This does not include malt exports. The government and industry are working together to connect Australian exporters with Costa Rican importers.

In 2020, Costa Rica imported Wheat worth $68.6 million, becoming the world’s 85th largest importer of Wheat. In the same year, Wheat was the 38th most imported product in Costa Rica. Costa Rica imports Wheat primarily from: Canada ($49.3 million), the United States ($19 million), the Netherlands ($151k), Germany ($137k), and Argentina ($30.2k).

Wheat imports declined 8.6 percent to 256,000 MT in 2018.  Total import value reached $68.8 million in 2018, down from $70.9 million in 2017. The value of Wheat imports from the United States reached $30.5 million, down from $33.7 million in 2017. Canada continues to compete with the U.S. for market share.  Canadian Wheat exports to Costa Rica declined from 145,332 MT in 2017 to 141,644 MT in 2018. Canada has become a strong competitor in the Wheat market in recent years.  There are only two Wheat mills in Costa Rica, Molinos de Costa Rica, and FAHACASA. 

Export growth will largely depend on Wheat prices as consumers are sensitive to price increases.  No Wheat is produced locally. In 2023, the approximate price range for Costa Rica Wheat flour is between $0.37 and $0.4 per kilogram or between $0.17 and $0.18 per pound(lb). The price in Costa Rican Colon is CRC 233.06 per kg. The average price for a ton is $372.9 in Alajuela and San José.

Costa Rica’s total Corn imports reached $194.1 million in 2020, up from $192.7 million in 2019. A smaller volume of white Corn is imported for tortilla and Cornflower production.  The United States has maintained a high percentage of the Costa Rican market for imported Corn through logistical advantages and long-standing trade relationships. However, South American suppliers could compete for market share depending on crop size in given years.   Brazil exported 103,425 MT to Costa Rica in 2019 and 54,087 MT in 2020.  

Costa Rica imported Soybeans worth $116 million in 2020, becoming the 37th importer of Soybeans in the world. In the same year, Soy was the 18th most imported product in Costa Rica. Costa Rica Soy imports mainly from the United States ($116 million), Canada ($14.2k), Chinese Taipei ($11.2k), and China ($4.2k).

Soybean Import in Costa Rica

The volume of Soybean exports to Costa Rica increased marginally in 2018. Import value declined slightly from $127.6 million in 2017 to $126.1 million in 2018. The U.S. has maintained almost 100 percent market share since 2016. South American exporters occasionally enter the market depending on prices and other market conditions. Soybean meal imports have increased over the last few years; Soybeans are imported mainly for meals. Soybean oil is sold primarily in the local market and exported to Central America.  There is only one oilseed crusher in Costa Rica, INOLASA, located near the Pacific port of Caldera (where all bulk grains arrive).

Imports of Soybean meal from the United States reached a record level in 2018.  Soybean meal exports amounted to $39.7 million compared to $19.5 million the year before. In 2018, Soybean meal production in Costa Rica amounted to 228 thousand metric tons, up from 192 thousand metric tons produced a year earlier.

Other sources: TRADE

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