Agriculture is a fundamental economic activity in Costa Rica, as many of the products that are harvested on farms are used locally or exported to different parts of the world; Besides this, it fulfills a very important function as a creator of employment.
for this version the data series according to the cantonal GDP analysis for 2020 carried out by the Central Bank of Costa Rica (BCCR), we show you which cantons of Costa Rica contribute the most to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) due to their agricultural activities.
Before going into detail about Canton, it is important to note that agricultural activities contributed ¢338.835 million to the country’s GDP in 2020, not including the cultivation of pineapples, bananas, coffee, and agricultural services, which were assessed as separate activities.
Agricultural activities had a relative share of 1% of all economic activities the central bank considered for the analysis. In general numbers, all national output in 2020 was ¢33.9 billion.
Similarly, according to the Sustainable Employment Survey of the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC), the primary sector, which includes agriculture, livestock and fishing, employed a total of 228,860 people by March 2023. At the end of 2020, the figure stood at around 250,000 workers.
Which canton dominates?
San Carlos, belonging to Alajuela Province, is the canton that contributed the most income to agricultural production in Costa Rica with ¢34.300 million. Of this amount, more than half (52.5%) comes from the growing roots and tubers. It also includes crops of other products such as nuts, sugarcane and forestry.
One of the characteristics of San Carlos is that it is the largest canton in the country, with an area of 3,373 square kilometers (km²), which is 6.5% of the total area of Costa Rica. According to the municipality’s website, it is larger in area than the provinces of Cartago (3,031 km²) and Heredia (2,673 km²).
Second on the list is the canton of Paraiso in Cartago, which contributed ¢24,582 million to the national output with its agricultural activities. Once again, root and tuber crops took up the most weight with 56.6% of the total, ie ¢13.925 million.
Chayote cultivation, which is very popular in this canton, ranks second in terms of contribution to production for this type of activity in the municipality, with 29.6% of the total, i.e. ¢7,286 million. Crops of other products like vegetables also had a significant share in the added value.
In third place appears the canton of Corridors in Puntarenas, with this type of economic activity contributing ¢18,698 million to the country’s output. In this municipality, the weight, practically, falls on a single product: the cultivation of the African oil palm.
This product represents 81.7% of the total added value generated by the canton of the Corridors with agricultural activities, representing ¢1,268 million. To some extent it also contributed to the cultivation of oilseeds and rice.