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Agricultural Sciences and should be
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Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University
,W September 23',,1958.
MEMO RANDU.M 4
TO: Mr. D. E. ~ ef of Party, University of Florida Contract,
FROM: R.'E. L. Greene, Potato Marketing Specialist.
SUBJECT: Report on An Economic Study of the Production and Marketing of
Potatoes in Costa Rica.
Submitted with this memorandum is a report of an economic study of the
production and marketing of potatoes. This study was made during the two months
period, July and August, 1958, My assignment in Costa Rica was a very interest-
ing and pleasant one. Excellent cooperation was received in every phase of work.
I would like to especially acknowledge the assistance of Seflor Mario Cdrdoba,
Farm Costs, and Paulino Gutidrrez, Marketing of the Office of Planning and Co-
ordination, Sr. Alvaro. Coto, Head, Section of Potatoes, Department of Agronomy
and Sr. Carlos RamIrez, Agricultural Agent, Cartago.
In general, the study revealed on the part of both growers and buyers a
dissatisfaction with the potato situation as it exists at present. However,: it
also revealed that a part of the criticism was due to an inadequate or an in-
correct.knowledge of the facts of the situation or the problems involved.
There are many problems in the production and'marketing of potatoes in
Costa Rica. One is the wide fluctuation in prices both at the farm and retail
level at different periods of the year due to variations in the volume of pota-
toes offered for sale. A second factor contributing to the problems of market-
ing is that the potatoes produced often are of low quality with many of the
tubers being rough, odd shaped, containing second growths and affected by dis-
eases. The amount of potatoes handled by individual buyers is small which in-
creases the number of handlers between producers and consumers and also cost
per unit for marketing the product. Wholesale and retail markets in many of the
larger towns are very congested and inefficiently organized which adds to the
cost of handling the potatoes through them.
To reduce costs in marketing and also increase returns, growers must first
increase efficiency of production and quality of potatoes being produced. Much
of the present poor quality and low yields stem from growers planting seed se-
lected year after year from their'own production that contains viruses and other
diseases. Improvements in production and marketing depend largely on the ex-
tent to which supplies of improved planting seed can be made available to grow-
ers at prices they can afford to pay.
In developing a program of work to improve the potato situation, I would
recommend that an effort be made to:
1. Increase the amount of improved seed available to growers.
2. Intensify the program to educate producers to follow recommended pro-
3. Encourage growers to plant seed free from Brown rot (Maya) in
areas where this disease is a problem.
4. Encourage increased use of simple equipment in the production
of potatoes and also more effective equipment.
5. Encourage increased production of potatoes for summer harvest
in areas where possible,
6. Experiment with the production of potatoes in new areas.
7. Consider the possibility of establishing definite grade standard