Environmental, labor and social impacts of pineapple activity in Costa Rica are “serious and shocking”, as warned by international agency Oxfam in a report that was rejected “categorically” by an organization of producers and exporters.
They fumigate when workers are present (on farms), agricultural chemicals pollute water to the point that it is almost impossible to drink it in the north and the Caribbean region of Costa Rica,
declared Francisca Humbert, head of the Oxfam mission.
The organization visited in March producing areas in the north and Caribbean part of the country, and in June, it issued an alarming report on the impacts of pineapple production, one of the main generators of foreign exchange.
Humbert said that the use of agrochemicals generates serious pollution of the environment that affects not only the workers but the populations in the producing areas, which have no access to drinking water.
People are suffering from skin problems, dizziness, gastritis and even worse: cases of cancer. The situation is unbearable,
She added that employees work 10 hours to 12 hours a day, they receive unfair wages and any attemptof creating an union organization is replicated by employers with dismissal.
In the north, the pineapple production led to the spread of a plague of flies that attacks livestock, which has caused a drop in milk production.
However, according to president of the National Chamber of Pineaple’s Producers and Exporters (CANAPEP), Abel Chaves, Oxfam is irresponsibly accusing them, because it has no scientific studies to support their claims.
We only fumigate with products registered in the Ministry of Agriculture and it is not true that we are polluting the water with agrochemicals. We are one of the most supervised sectors, not only by the government but by international certifiers like Rainforest Alliance, Global GAP and Carbon Neutral. I do not ignore that in the past have made mistakes in handling labor relations, but that has improved a lot. There is not only unions but also solidarity associations and cooperatives “in the pineapple sector,
Pineapple is one of the pillars of agricultural production in Costa Rica, considered the world’s largest producer of the fruit.