When upgrading buildings or customizing El Presidente, you are offered a couple of options that affect production by a certain percentage, for example +20% Production. You know that you will somehow get more output from your buildings but the actual effect/mechanic is not perfectly clear.

Suppose I have 100 units of raw material that convert to 100 units of finished goods in one cycle. Does a +20% Production bonus mean that

  1. I will receive 120 units of finished products out of 100 units of raw material (better input/output ratio)

  2. I will receive 120 units of finished products but consume 120 units of raw material (same input/output ratio, faster rate).

In case you are getting more output for the same input, it's almost always a good idea to purchase factory upgrades but otherwise it's only useful if you have tons of stock or understaffed buildings.

  • Great question. You could play a sandbox game and manufacture something using only imports, so you have precise numbers on the materials involved. Compare that to the output from exporting the result.
    – mafu
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


I've played through various Tropicos, including 3 and 4.

I've always understood it to be #1, but I guess I haven't explicitly tested it. Some buildings have upgrades that separately affect production and resource consumption, so from that I would extrapolate that one does not automatically affect the other.

One example would be the Sports Line upgrade for the Car Factory in Tropico 4 (emphasis added):

Sports Line: For $12,000 and 5 megawatts of power, the factory can produce flashy, high-powered sports cars, increasing production by 50% but increasing the amount of raw materials needed to make cars by 25%.

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