A study by Benjamin Warner and Christopher Kuzdas, University of Massachusets recently published in the Climate and Development Journal looked into what happens in the Costa Rican agro-industrial before the dry season. The researchers found there is a difference between smallholder rice farmers and larger industrial actors in terms of access to information about the upcoming drought. This leads to uneven conditions for water rationing at the start of the season, resulting into uneven competition as the actors who have more information know that it is better to plant and to harvest earlier, and hence make more profit.
Unfair conditions become more apparent in the international trade, where powerful actors have an ability to affect trade legislation through lobbying, which makes them better prepared for the outcomes of trade deals. Lower tariffs on rice imports is one of the brightest examples as lower local demand strikes unevenly hard against small scale Costa Rican rice farmers.
Research points to the fact that the current national water risk system is well equipped to handle water shortages, but not the market, which can be an underlying reason for the unfair competition. Scientists who conducted the study recommend creating an umbrella organisation that can coordinate future warning systems and water rationing, providing better support for small scale producers.
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