In line with PRF’s mission and focus on maximising green coffee sales, we have developed an additional campaign to accompany the physical and virtual PRF events in March 2021.
All our activities aim to be inclusive and ultimately drive innovation in the coffee sector. We initially explored developing an auction for exclusive micro-lots, but after much discussion, we have decided that a Producer Roaster Matchmaking campaign is most suitable for Honduras.
We know that there is a strong focus within the specialty coffee sector on auctions selling exotic lots, at high prices in low volumes. However, the Producer Roaster Matchmaking program will instead focus on scalability, and inclusivity to more appropriately align with our values. We want to create new initiatives, not compete with existing ones.
WHY ORGANISE A PRF MATCHMAKING CAMPAIGN?
Following our review, it is clear that in Honduras:
There are thousands of producers in Honduras with coffees scoring between 80-84. Many of them have no branding to differentiate themselves, and a severe lack of market access.
A campaign has never been created which considers the needs of larger roasters and green buyers (i.e. through a minimum order volume of ½ container). Their requirements are different to the micro-roasters who purchase the exclusive and expensive auction lots. However, they are powerful players in the sector who also want to participate in meaningful relationships.
Therefore, the Producer Roaster Matchmaking campaign will:
Create an inclusive sales platform for larger lots. Lots will be divided into two broad types.
Macro-lots: minimum 1 container in size
Micro-lots: minimum ½ container in size
Within these two main categories, there will be a range of subcategories.
For example, women-only, organic, young producers, and so on.
Develop a branding campaign for producers and roasters to differentiate and add value to larger lots.
Contribute to hurricane relief efforts.
A small premium (minimum of US 7.5 cents per lb) from each sale can be added to a relief fund, which will be independently managed by an NGO in close collaboration with roasters and producers.
WHY NOT AN AUCTION?
Based on feedback from our in-country partners and green coffee buyers, we have realised that organising a traditional auction would not be the best solution to meet our aims of maximising green coffee sales.
This is because:
Larger roasters purchasing a minimum of one container, were not enthusiastic about auctions. Often, these roasters:
Don’t have time to participate in auctions.
Want direct contact with producers, rather than connecting through an auction platform.
Have a fixed budget for coffees – so do not see the value in bidding.
Want to maximise producer income, rather than paying fees to external actors.
Auctions are sustained by fees, which can sometimes be considerable.There are also basic costs associated with running an auction, such as the platform hire, which quoted upwards of US $10,000.
Our focus is on generating long-term commercial relationships, not driving one-off purchases.
It causes an additional administrative burden for IHCAFE, and competes with other successful auctions.
In Honduras, there is an over-supply of coffees scoring between 80 and 84 points, which do not satisfy the typical auction need for exotic, high-scoring coffees.
There is a concern that the long-term impacts of adverse weather in Honduras (Eta & Iota) may damage coffee crops and subsequently reduce cupping scores.