Sustainable Banana Production and Pesticides in Costa Rica

Producing bananas for export is an important economic activity in Costa Rica. Large multinational producers employ thousands of workers, who live near plantations, and smallholders grow banana as a cash crop. But, pesticide use in the banana industry is high and constitutes a health hazard for the farm workers, farmers and families involved.

This project aims to assess and reduce pesticide-related health risks in the banana industry using an Ecohealth research framework. Researchers will measure pesticide levels in pregnant women (both Latino and indigenous) involved in banana and plantain production, and assess the effects of these levels on the health and neurodevelopment of their children from birth to two years of age. They will also pilot test harm reduction techniques, such as personal protection options, and alternatives to chemical pest control. Exposure reduction will be measured in terms of cholinesterase levels in pertinent populations.

In the process, the project is expected to strengthen local capacity in Ecohealth approaches and result in the design and implementation of a monitoring and evaluation plan.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Friday, February 27, 2009

End Date

Monday, April 15, 2013


36 months

IDRC Officer

Bazzani, Roberto

Total funding

CA$ 426,500


Costa Rica, North and Central America, South America


Food, Environment, and Health

Project Leader

Berna van Wendel de Joode


Universidad Nacional

Institution Country

Costa Rica

Institution Website