Made in Nicaragua

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Historically named “The breadbasket of Central America”, Nicaragua has been a traditionally agricultural and cattle-farming country for more than 150 years.

In 2013, the agribusiness sector was of great socio-economic importance for Nicaragua, contributing approximately 60 percent of total exports value, excluding free zones.

Today, renowned international companies such as Kraft Foods, Parmalat, Cargill, Nestlé, Hortifruti (Wal-Mart) and Numar have successfully established operations in Nicaragua due to the advantages the country offers.

The year 2010 marked the beginning of industrial production and high-volume exports of Nicaraguan footwear to the United States and the European Union.

In 2012, Nicaragua was highlighted Nicaragua as “a rising star” in terms of footwear production worldwide, by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA).

 

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Also, the country has proven to be especially competitive in women’s leather heels, according to a study performed by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) in 2012.

Nicaragua has successfully satisfied the expectations of the companies that are already established in the country by offering a competitive cost structure, skilled workforce and proximity to major markets, among other benefits.

In 2013, Nicaragua’s auto parts industry’s exports accounted for 24 percent of the country’s free zones exports and 12.3 percent of its total exports. There are currently two companies operating in this sub-sector; Yazaki (Japan) and Dräxlmaier (Germany). Together they have created more than 14,900 jobs, where Yazaki on its own is the country’s largest employer.

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The country has more than 3.5 million hectares of forestry potential, with approximately more than 19,000 km² of economically valuable natural forests apt for sustainable management projects, the majority of which are found in the Atlantic region. Over 1.8 million hectares of land are suitable for forest plantations of species with commercial value, including royal cedar, mahogany, pochote, teak, eucalyptus and melina.

Its main export products include: meat, coffee, shrimp, sugar, tobacco and cigars, dairy, peanuts, edible oils, beans and lobster.

In 2013, the agribusiness sector was of great socio-economic importance for Nicaragua, contributing approximately 60 percent of total exports value, excluding free zones.

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Nicaragua produces a wide variety of raw material that could be processed such as meat, fruits, and vegetables, cocoa, coffee, sugar, corn, seafood, beans, plantains, among others. The country also currently processes cookies and snacks, instant coffee and rum.

Some food processing opportunities in Nicaragua include:

  • Corn-based products: tortillas and snacks
  • Cereals: roasted and ground cocoa and coffee
  • Baked products: cookies and biscuits
  • Fried goods: plantains, cassava, potato, and malanga
  • Vegetables
  • Candies, jellies and canned food
  • Beverages
  • Fresh and dehydrated fruit
  • Sauces, pickled vegetables and condiments

Nicaragua has signed Free Trade Agreements (FTA’s) with the United States, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Taiwan, Panama, Chile and most recently with the European Union (ratification pending). Additionally, Nicaragua is part of the Central American Common Market, which confers with the free movement of capital, services and human resources in the region, and is constructing the Central American Customs Union. At the moment, the country is negotiating Free Trade Agreements with Chile, Canada, CARICOM and is working on the FTA signed with Mexico and other Central American nations.

The Free Trade Agreement with the United States, known as DR-CAFTA, entered into force in 2006, consolidating Nicaragua’s advantageous position as an export platform to this important market. Under DR-CAFTA, Nicaragua was provided:

  • Free and immediate access for 95 percent of agricultural and industrial goods, including: fruits, vegetables, preserved fruits and vegetables, shellfish and seafood, processed foods, forestry products, furniture and wood products, handicrafts, and leather goods, among other things.
  • Access through special quotas for all other agricultural goods, including sugar, peanuts, peanut butter, meat and dairy products (cream, yogurt, cheese, ice cream and other products).

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