CHICAGO (FNS) -- A Costa Rica-based development firm has announced a program that would expand the port city of Province of Limon on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast.
In so doing it would greatly increase the region's ability to process and ship fresh fruits and vegetables to the United States, according to project organizers. The development is designed to spur international trade.
The project, operated by OSI Proyectos Costa Rica, S.A., comprises a 78-square kilometer site, approximately 50 square miles, of ocean-front land in the economically depressed region in Limon. The government of Costa Rica has granted the developers the right to develop the project as a full free-trade zone over the next 25 years.
"The period from harvest to store shelves is so long right now that produce has to be picked long before its optimal time. This is due to Central America's poor port facilities, particularly on the Caribbean coast," said Josh Inglis of the Financial Relations Board here. "The Costa Rica Project will shave days off the distribution schedule, meaning fresher foods delivered more efficiently."
The port is being designed to facilitate faster harvesting, processing and shipping practices to get produce to the supermarket shelves quickly and efficiently, said Inglis. Agriculture and greenhouse projects, aquaculture projects and a trans-shipment port are included in the project. In addition, an industrial and commercial complex to house transportation and entertainment ventures has been included.
Food-processing facilities are a key anchor of the project, according to Inglis.
"Some of Central America's top exports are produce such as coffee, bananas and tropical fruit," said Inglis. "That's why the Costa Rica Project incorporates food-processing and refrigerated storage facilities that will allow companies to process virtually on-site."
"This should lead to substantial cost savings because it ultimately removes one leg of distribution from the equation."