Costa Rica News – The growing use of pineapple containers to smuggle drugs into Europe is pushing up shipping costs for Costa Rican exporters.
Industry representatives said a spate of seizures of drugs hidden in consignments of agricultural exports bound for the European market has led to the adoption of tighter security controls at the country of origin and the destination market, which in turn is increasing the cost of sending fruit to this market.
“Producers and exporters in the country are concerned over local and international drug seizures, mainly cocaine found in shipments of fruit, tubers and ornamental plants and flowers,” Betsabé Alvarez of the Chamber of Exporters of Costa Rica (Cadexo) told Crhoy.com. “The country has struggled to forge a path of growth and support for exports, and this is being seriously affected by the insecurity which has moved to the export sector.”
Earlier this month, 2.5 tonnes of cocaine worth an estimated US$208 was discovered by Spanish police hidden inside a container of pineapples imported from Costa Rica.
Alvarez said the situation was also damaging the reputation of agricultural export companies in spite of their increased efforts to ramp up security in packhouses and during the transportation of containers to the port of departure.
BY MAURA MAXWELL, www.fruitnet.com