This worker is taking what appears to be a sea of bananas and loading them onto trays for transporting in the banana processing plant. The volume of production is apparent in this photo.
Bananas have recently been replaced by tourism as the leading source of foreign currency for Costa Rica. The number of acres of land in banana production today is approximately double what it was in the 1980's. Export demand for bananas has increased, as the healthful effects of bananas are appreciated more today. Nearly all of the bananas are cultivated in the coastal areas along the Caribbean.
Exports are important for Costa Rica, but of course in many countries there is support for protecting local industries from foreign competition. Because of the strong democratic traditions of Costa Rica, groups seeking to protect local industries were able to force a national referendum on Costa Rica's ratification of the Central American Free Trade Act (CAFTA). Last year the voters approved the ratification of CAFTA, which makes Costa Rica the only country to approve a free trade agreement through a vote of the people.