Controversy Over Rice Subsidy

The multimillion dollar figures which Costa Rica spends on protecting rice production has sparked controversy between critics of the system and producers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The issue was exposed to the public when a group of countries complained before the World Trade Organization (WTO) (see
"Authorities and Rice Producers Analyze Subsidy"

Velia Govaere, professor at the UNED, analyzes the situation on an article in, mentioning the hundreds of millions of dollars which consumers overpay for rice in Costa Rica, and stating that "most of the subsidy is benefiting less than 10 producers.” (See "
Never So Much to so Few (only in Spanish).")

It is important to recognize that what is usually described as "subsidy", in this case it is not. In this case, it relates to a transfer of resources which the Costa Rican pricing system and the import monopoly awarded to Conarroz, which drifts toward rice producers.

In another article in Nació, some producers in the Guanacaste province, made clarifications and justified the current situation with an article called "The Truth About Rice Production".

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More on this topic

Costa Rica: Safeguarding Rice Imports

January 2014

A request by the National Rice Corporation for a protectionist trade measure is being analyzed by the government.

The Costa Rican government is discussing the possible application of a safeguard measure on imports of rice from Argentina and Uruguay. The measure was requested by the National Rice Corporation (Conarroz).

Costa Rica Presents National Rice Policy

January 2011

The proposal provides for a gradual shift in the pricing mechanism.

Within general guidelines, the proposal is valid for three years and aims to improve access to credit, training as well as business management and infrastructure.

"It also contemplates signing agreements for the National Production Council (CNP) to relocate their infrastructure and improve productivity in conjunction with programs from the Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA),” reports the article in

Pressure Increases due to Costa Rica´s Rice Subsidy

November 2010

WTO members launched a new campaign against the country due to its subsidies to rice production.

The claims were presented at the meeting of the Committee on Agriculture of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and point out that Costa Rica failed to limit their subsidies.

Costa Rica agreed not to exceed $ 15.5 million a year in subsidies and in the year 2010 it has gone over $ 100 million.

Costa Rica: Authorities and Rice Producers Analyze Rice Subsidy

October 2010

The parties created a working group to come up with a solution to the conflict generated by rice subsidies.

The problem arose by questioning submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) from 35 countries.

La Nacion, reports on their website, "The basic point of the problem is the price of the grain. This is the only product which price continues to be set by law."

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