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NMSU to host talk on changes in Costa Rica

New Mexico State University?s Center for Latin American and Border Studies will host a talk on the changing rural economy of Costa Rica at 4 p.m., Thursday, Sept.18 at the Nason House, 1070 University Ave.

Woman poses in front of a building.
University of Ottawa Associate Professor Deborah Sick will give a presentation on the changes in Costa Rica at New Mexico State University?s Center for Latin American and Border Studies Sept. 18. (Courtesy photo)

Deborah Sick, associate professor with the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Ottawa, will give a presentation, ?The New Face of the Countryside: Export Agriculture, Farming Households, and Generational Livelihood Strategies in Rural Costa Rica.?

?Coffee production has played a key role in Costa Rica?s economy and the livelihoods of thousands of small-scale family farmers since the emergence of an international market in the early 1880s,? Sick said. ?Since the early 1990s, the Costa Rican economy has been slowly diversifying. Today, Costa Rica boasts a much more dynamic and diversified economy: tourism, tropical fruits and industrial goods, such as microchips, have replaced coffee as key export earners.?

Utilizing more than 20 years of research, Sick examines the regional economy of Perez Zeledon, which like the national economy, has long relied on coffee exports. With the decline of coffee incomes in the early 2000s, increased population and land scarcity, farming has become less feasible for some. Generational differences are arising and many young adults are no longer farming.

?Despite this trend, farming is not dead,? she said. ?Farming households in Perez Zeledon are attempting to take advantage of new consumer trends and specialty coffee markets, a liberalizing national economy and a diversifying regional economy.?

The talk is free and open to the public. For more information visit clabs.nmsu.edu.