Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beans For Gas

No, not that kind of gas.

Juan Artica, the Vice Minister of Agriculture and Cattle for Honduras, is proposing to grow more beans for exclusive export to Venezuela should Honduras regain membership in Petrocaribe.

You may recall that one way members of Petrocaribe can pay for the refined petroleum products that they use is with agricultural goods.

The central government reckons it has enough production and storage of beans already to satisfy the national demand, last year's shortages and the highest priced food basket in Central America (including beans) not withstanding.

They report they are in contact with producers to increase the production of beans, to be exclusively exported to Venezuela.

Artica reports that in a few weeks they will send a mission to Venezuela to bring back the kind of beans they eat there. Venezuelans eat, it seems, black beans. Hondurans eat a variety of small red/purple beans.

The fact is that in Central America, at least, each country has its own distinctive bean variety that is traditionally grown and consumed there, and local taste demands local beans. Some of this has to do with the way different beans react to cooking methods; in the past Honduran cooks have complained that imported beans did not soften up properly in the amount of time normally allowed for domestic beans.

The proposal actually seems more like an off-the-cuff speculation than a well thought out plan. How will they manage to outwit the coyotes/speculators, who created last year's artificial shortage of beans and, oh, by the way, exported Honduran beans to other Central American countries while beans were short and expensive in Honduras, when an export market is created for beans for Venezuela?

Will Honduran grown Venezuelan black beans find acceptance in the Venezuelan market? Stay tuned.

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