Exporting Fair Trade Beans from Honduras to a US Market
Richard H. Bernsten; Juan Carlos Rosas
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A poster presented at the 2012 Global Pulse Researchers Meeting, Kigali, Rwanda- “Transforming Grain-Legume Systems to Enhance Nutrition and Livelihoods”. Abstract: objectives. Bean farmers in Honduras typically sell their beans to middlemen after the harvest and receive a low price. This project focused on assisting a farmer association to become certified as a producer of fairtrade beans, and identifying a U.S. retailer that would offer a premium price for fairtrade beans. Research Approach/Methodology. To sell “fair trade beans”, farmers must be certified by a third party, which requires completing a detailed application to documents its status with respect to the certifier’s standards”, and pass an “audit” visit to confirm the information reported in the application. Organizations that provide third-party certification include FLO, the Rainforest Alliance,, and IMO. The project decided to seek certification from the IMO. Over a 2-year period, the project negotiated with Whole Foods Markets to secure a purchase order, including a purchase price. Results and Significance of the Study. While the IMO was interested in certifying the farmers, the project postponed applying for certification (cost=$2,500) until WFM finalized its purchase order. In early 2011,WFM agreed to purchase 20 mt at a farmgate price of $0.60/lb, which the farmers accepted. But, as the local price increased during there next 4 months, the farmers raised their minimum price to $0.90/lb, which was higher WFM’s maximum price of $0.75/lb. Thus, negotiations were suspended, until the farmers were willing to WFM’s maximum price.