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Agronomía Costarricense

versión impresa ISSN 0377-9424


ARCE QUESADA, Silvia Elena. Comparative analysis of prices and production costs of organic and conventional cultivated vegetables. Agron. Costarricense [online]. 2020, vol.44, n.2, pp.81-108. ISSN 0377-9424.


The present investigation is the first effort identified in Costa Rica, which compares production costs between organic and conventional vegetables. The project made visible sale prices, unit costs and profit margins of selected products and compared them between both production schemes.


To clarify the causes that can be assigned to the difference in sale prices and production costs between six organic grown vegetables and their conventional counterpart.

Materials and methods.

A survey was formulated to consult 2 groups of producers, one consisting of 10 organic vegetable producers and the other of ten dedicated to conventional vegetable production. 19 closed questions were asked about investment and production costs, income, cost-benefit ratio. Selected vegetables were cilantro (Coriandrum sativum), lettuce (Lactuca sativa), potato (Solanum tuberosum), carrot (Daucus carota), celery (Apium graveolens) and broccoli (Brassica oleracea). Recorded data was grouped by production costs and sale prices at farmers markets.


Sale prices of organic products per unit sold was higher than that of conventional practices in all cases. It was possible to determine that the percentage difference in prices for carrots was 28.57%, 40% for celery 40%, 25% for cilantro, 53.33% for potatoes, 33.33% for lettuce and 66.67% for broccoli. In addition, conventional products presented higher total cost of production with respect to organic products, this was 41.70% higher for carrots, 65.18% for celery, 29.03% for cilantro, 34.78% for potatoes, 16.65% for lettuce and 44.91% for broccoli.


The activities with conventional practices exposed higher costs, due to the demand and purchase of external inputs and the use of machinery, while organic production proposes low dependence on the purchase of external inputs, since those required are mainly generated on the own farm as producers adopt practices that promote the health of the agroecosystem, biodiversity and biological cycles.

Palabras clave : Organic agriculture; conventional agriculture; production costs; selling price.

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