“No a la Piñería” (pineapple monocultures), Costa Rica

Cultivated area of pineapples for export in Costa Rica grew in the last two decades leading to serious environmental and health damages to local communities.


Pineapple monocultures in Costa Rica have been growing dramatically since the end of the previous century. From 1990 to 2009, the cultivated area grew 675% to almost 50000 ha and, in 2015, it had arguably reached almost 60000 ha. Costa Rica is the main exporter of pineapple (since 2007) having North America (53%) and the European Union (44%) as main destinations (2015). Production is heavily concentrated: Del Monte and PINDECO - the biggest companies – have 50% of Costa Rica’s pineapple output. The first 31 companies concentrate 96% of total production. Small landowners although big in number, produce the remaining 4%. Pineapple monocultures have become a major source of both environmental and social impacts in Costa Rica. Apart from the land use changes that threaten the country’s forests and wetlands, the agrochemicals used in the plantations have been polluting both surface and underground waters. In the municipality of Siquirres (Huetar Atlántico region), the communities are consuming water from tankers since 2007 due to the presence of 3 substances used in pineapple monocultures: Bromacil, Diurón and Tridamefón. At that time, the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (Costa Rica’s public water provider) denounced the plantations proximity to springs, violating the country’s Law.

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Basic Data
Name“No a la Piñería” (pineapple monocultures), Costa Rica
CountryCosta Rica
ProvinceLimón, Alajuela, Puntarenas
SiteHuetar Norte and Huetar Atlántico regions
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Water access rights and entitlements
Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Specific CommoditiesPineapples
Fruits and Vegetables
Project Details and Actors
Project Details-From 1990 to 2009, the cultivated area grew 675% to almost 50000 ha and

- In 2015, it reached almost 60000 ha

Exports are reported at over one billion USD per year.
Project Area (in hectares)60,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population500,000
Start Date2002
Company Names or State EnterprisesDel Monte from United States of America
Pineapple Development Corporation (PINDECO) from United States of America
Relevant government actorsCámara Constitucional de la Corte Suprema; Secretaría Técnica Nacional Ambiental (SETENA); Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA).

Private actors:

Cámara Nacional de Productores y Exportadores de Piña (CANAPEP); Sindicato de Trabajadores del Sector Privado (SITRASEPT);
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersSeveral communities, some organised at the Frente Nacional de Sectores Afectados por la Producción de Piña (FRENASAPP).

Supporters: Universidad de Costa Rica; United Nations; Federación Conservacionista de Costa Rica (FECON).
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Informal workers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents
Potential: Accidents
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Court decision (undecided)
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesStop the monoculture expansion and promote other forms of relationship with nature through agroecological alternatives.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.In spite of some minor victories - Bromacil was forbidden, the southern project was suspended - few has been done to stop the threat posed by pineapple monocultures in Costa Rica. As a result, the scenario is still one of defeat for those struggling against the industry.
Sources and Materials

Constitución Política de Costa Rica 1949

Ley orgánica del Ambiente 7554
[click to view]


Revista Ambientico: Piña en Costa Rica, impactos sociales y ambientales
[click to view]


El lado amargo de la piña
[click to view]

La cuestionable sostenibilidad ambiental de la piña
[click to view]

Producción de piña en Costa Rica enfrenta acusaciones por supuesto impacto ambiental
[click to view]

Se extienden moratorias piñeras en el Caribe
[click to view]

La piña de Costa Rica ante la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos
[click to view]

Comunidades del Sur se manifiestan por la defensa del Humedal y las Esferas
[click to view]

El Tribunal Superior revoca la moratoria sobre el cultivo de la piña en Los Chiles, Costa Rica
[click to view]

Costa Rica orders suspension of Del Monte pineapple project
[click to view]

Media Links

Comunidades y ecologistas celebran prohibición del Bromacil
[click to view]

SITRASEP Facebook Page
[click to view]

Frente Nacional de Sectores Afectados por la Producción de Piña (FRENASAPP)
[click to view]

Pineapples: Luxury fruit at what price? | Guardian Investigations
[click to view]

Other Documents

Art against the Pineapple expansion in Costa Rica Source: Revista Campesina
[click to view]

Pineapple plantions in Costa Rica
[click to view]

Sí a la Vida, No a la piñería
[click to view]

Other CommentsPineapple is "piña". The word "piñería" -(imitating "minería" (mining)- is a new concept referring to the monocultures of pineapples. Hence the slogan, "sí a la vida, no a la piñería" (yes to life, no to "piñería").
Meta Information
ContributorENVJustice Project
Last update11/03/2018