Abstract

The situation of the staple grain production in the Central American area is full of contradictions. Although there has been an increment in the food production, apparently sufficient, compared with the population growth, the yields have remained stagnant in the last decade. In the whole region, the real prices at farm level have dropped dramatically during these years of economic crisis. The state policies of organizing a regional market for basic food faces the large prevalent differences in prices and costs of grains among the Central American countries. According to a comparative analysis, these differences are stemmed in the prices of chemicals input s and mechanization costs at the farm level, which jeopardize the international region' s competitiveness and then may hurt those countries with relatively higher technified production within the region. In fact, the last available data confirms that, in economic terms, the technology for basic food production is not as effective as traditional farming. Finally, the massive food aid received by the isthmus, mainly wheat, has caused a change in the relative prices of staples food and leads in the urban, consumer to modify his feeding habit.