More than 300 organic farmers and researchers from around Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama met at EARTHUniversity outside the Caribbean-slope town of Guácimo this week for the Fifth National Meeting of Farmers and Researchers of Organic Produce, according to Rolando Zamora, EARTH University Training Coordinator.
During the gathering, organic farmers presented their products and organic agriculture researchers presented their findings.
Discussion forums, workshops, visits to nearby commercial organic farms and a farmers’ market were part of the experience, Zamora said.
Finding ways to overcome the challenges organic products face in the market and boost production were other goals of the encounter, which is held every two years, according to a statement from the Production Ministry (MIPRO).
Costa Rica does not take full advantage of the high demand for organic produce in U.S., Japanese and other international markets, said Miguel Castro, manager of the Production Ministry’s National Program for Organic Agriculture, according to the statement.
Zamora called the event a success, and a “very appropriate space” for farmers to learn from experts in the field.
“Sometimes these types of discussions are held at a very high level, and everyone walks away without understanding anything,” Zamora said. “It was important that this was a space where people could express themselves in a simple manner.”
Rice, coffee, cacao, tea, medicinal plants, pineapple and banana are among products grown organically by farmers who attended the event, which was organized by the Production Ministry’s Program for Organic Production Research and Technology Transfer, EARTHUniversity, the Costa Rican Organic Agriculture Movement and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.