Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
James W. Julian, Glenn H Sullivan
Guatemala has established an ever-increasing presence in the non-traditional agricultural exports (NTAE) sector in the international marketplace during the last decade. Guatemala’s total NTAE revenues have increased 24 percent during the period 1993 to 1996, reaching nearly $217 million USD in 1996. Our research in the IPM CRSP indicates that the NTAE sector in Guatemala continues to enjoy a regional advantage in horticultural crop production that is “performance targeted” for sale in North America and Europe. However, future development of economically sustainable expansion in the NTAE sector in Guatemala will depend significantly upon the industry’s capacity to address increasingly important constraints to interregional trade. Non-economic constraints to trade based upon sanitary and phytosanitary regulations, if not addressed appropriately, can pose significant risks to future NTAE expansion in Central America. Our research suggests that these non-economic constraints already have had a negative impact on the competitiveness of Guatemala’s vegetable exports to the United States. These issues will become increasingly more critical to sustainable expansion in the NTAE sector, as importing countries respond to domestic consumer demands for greater food safety and domestic producers, by tightening the performance requirements for imported food supplies.
Researchers found that Costa Rica, a regional competitor, already has responded in a proactive manner, developing a more "market-driven" focus that emphasizes quality control through improved post-harvest strategies, pre-inspection, and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) compliance that help enhance market value of the export commodity and reduce the risk of detention, quarantine, and/or rejection in the recipient countries ports-of-entry. This response parallels the IPM CRSP pre-inspection program objectives in Guatemala and establishes the basis for comparative analysis of economic benefits.