The construction sector in Costa Rica, which faces a significant slowdown, laid off more than 17,000 workers at the end of 2008 as a product of the crisis. However, these workers were absorbed by rice, pineapple, sugar and coffee production.
In an analysis in elfinancierocr.com, the characteristics of this migration were described, reporting that the coffee harvest, which ended in March 2009, employed about 200 thousand workers, 40 thousand of whom were from the construction industry.
The case is similar in pineapple production, with the sector aiming for a 16% increase in production this year, for which it will need 3 thousand more workers, who are also expected to come from the construction sector.
The executive director of the National Institute of Coffee, Ronald Peters, told El Financiero: "With construction, many workers went where higher salaries were paid, even above set salaries. Now they have returned."
The next harvest season could be complicated, as several agricultural sectors expect the labor supply will decrease.
The growth of construction sector in Nicaragua has been a good thing for the country but not for its neighbor Costa Rica, because the Costa Rican agricultural sector normally uses labor from Nicaragua at fruit harvesting time, especially for coffee, pineapple, melon and sugarcane.
The lack of labor, the reduction of the plantations and the high price of fertilizers are some of the causes.
At one month before the close of the 2007-2008 Harvest, Costa Rican "gold" or coffee exports were stuck at a little more than 1.37 million 60-kilo sacks, while in Guatemala sales in July were at a record 4 million sacks, according to a publication in the La Republica daily news.
The Pelon Group in Costa Rica fired 3 thousand workers due to the 25% increase in the cost of production and low profitability at the moment.
"The increase in costs were not economically feasible for the company, hence we had to stop planting approximately 1000 hectares and as a result we had to let go some people, mainly Nicaraguan workers," said Gerardo Gonzales, plant manager for the Pelon Plant in Bajura, Guanacaste.
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