Among the different institutions through which the Costa Rican government influences production and internal marketing of agricultural commodities, the Consejo Nacional de Produccion (CNP) is the most important one. The Consejo is given by law a great deal of authority in fomenting production and stabilizing prices of food products. It is also entitled to perform a wide range of activities and marketing functions affecting the food system (buying and selling, assembling, transporting, storing and processing, importing and exporting, price fixing, input distribution, etc.). Because of the strategic role of agriculture in the country, and due to very significant influence of the Consejo's intervention upon production, marketing and consumption in particular, as well as rural and economic development in general its decisions have a lot of important economic and political consequences. In spite of all of these facts the Consejo's policies have not yet been comprehensive and systematically evaluated. Nor have the benefits and costs of current programs upon society been explicitly considered. Likewise, little attention has been paid to alternative types of programs and procedures that would permit goals to be achieved as efficiently as possible under changing and dynamic conditions.