The Aruco Cooperative was established in 2006 with 14 farmers with a desire to access supply chains and pricing that reflected their coffee’s true quality. We were introduced to Aruco during the 2015/16 harvest, when we purchased 4 microlots from them. Seeing the potential in these coffees, and the producers behind them, we invested in a quality development program in collaboration with Aruco
Origin/Location: Corquín, Honduras
Timeline: 2016/17 – ongoing
People: 200 producers supported by Aruco, 100 in the micro lot program. Falcon Specialty works with almost 40.
Gender: 40% female
Formed in response to the feeling that their coffee was not appreciated by their own market, the Aruco Cooperative was established in 2006 with 14 farmers with a desire to access supply chains and pricing that reflected their coffee’s true quality. In 2013, the cooperative began a micro-lot program aiming to produce high scoring washed, honey and natural, specialty grade coffees. Falcon was first introduced to Aruco during the 2015/16 harvest, when we purchased 4 micro-lots from the cooperative. Seeing the potential in these coffees, and the producers behind them, Falcon invested in a quality development program in collaboration with Aruco at the start of the 2016/17 harvest.
The aim of the project was to produce high-quality micro-lots via a centralised mill, giving small producers access to specialty markets and price premiums. The project started with 25 small holders and Falcon provided training, technical support, and expertise to help boost crop quality. We pre-contracted a given volume of micro-lots, which allowed Aruco to manage the risk across the supply chain by ensuring higher income for its members. Aruco supports its members with technical assistance, quality and yield improvement, and financial support, all while promoting responsible farming in harmony with the environment. The cooperative is organic certified.
– In the first year of the program cup scores on all lots improved by an average of 5.25 SCA points. This resulted in an increase of 217 c/lb ($4.78/kg) paid to farmers, amounting to an increase of $3145 per farmer and doubling their household income for the year.
– The number of farmers in the program increases from 23 in 2016 to 27 including 9 women.
– Average cup scores increase to 86.6 SCA points.
– Average price paid to farmers increases by 191 c/lb ($4.21/kg) resulting in an increase in yearly household income of $8028 per family. The average yearly salary in Honduras that year was $2330.
– Quantity of exportable bags (69kg) produced jumps from 226 bags in 2016 to 746 bags.
– 37 farmers in the project show average cup scores of 86.84. Average price paid is 340c/lb ($7.50/kg). This reflects an average increase of 140% since 2016. At the time we contracted this coffee, the stock market for commercial coffee was $2.43/kg.
– The number of farmers supported by Falcon and Aruco is 200. 100 are active in producing specialty micro lots, 40 of which are women.
– Under the watchful eye of the Head of Speciality Micro-lot Processing at Aruco, Carlos Alfredo Estevez, volumes of specialty micro lots grow to over 1,250 bags.
– With a grant from the Honduran government, Aruco built a specialty micro lot dry milling line to process the lots for export. The new milling facility was officially opened by the President of Honduras in April 2021. This vertical integration now allows Aruco to control the trading process and export the coffees themselves
– Over 1,000 raised beds have now been constructed for micro-lots processing.
Hurricane relief in Honduras:
In November 2020, Hurricanes Eta and Lota devastated Honduras, damaging more than 4,000 hectares of coffee farms and destroying vital infrastructure. This resulted in the loss of approximately 80,000 bags of coffee, which had a huge impact on the coffee community around Aruco. Through a combination of direct donations from Falcon Coffees, our GoFundMe page and 20c/lb for all our invoiced Honduran coffees in December and January, we donated a total of $8,400 to the cause, $5,050 of which was directly donated to Aruco. This allowed them to support their producers who had been directly impacted, as well as the wider community, by repairing damaged roads.