Volume VI | Issue VIII | August 24, 2020
Black Bean Spring Rolls

Bean Bulletin
For Now
Trade Teams in 2019
And virtual Trade Teams in 2020
As we approach dry bean harvest, we would normally begin gearing up to receive global buyers across bean country to observe the new crop. We’d also be getting ready for a busy fall and winter trade mission and trade show season to discuss the new crop with our global customers. The good news is – all of this will still happen, the not necessarily bad news is – it will look and feel a bit different this year due to ongoing Covid travel concerns and restrictions. While in person events will not take place, many virtual events are scheduled. The virtual format allows us to add new events, including harvest reviews in other countries, and ultimately allows us to reach more of our target audience. Here are some of our plans over the harvest season:

  • On August 26 we will host the first review of the Mexico dry bean crop for the Spring/Summer harvest. Subsequent webinars will be scheduled after the harvest.
  • In early September we will hold a virtual trade mission to the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
  • In early to Mid September we will host a discussion on trade consultations with the United Kingdom.
  • Next week we will host the first meeting of our newly formed Bean Innovation Working Group
  • In the Fall we will begin a series of webinars on the U.S. dry bean harvest for our global buyers.
  • There will be virtual trade missions to Central America and Colombia/Panama planned before the end of the year.

There will likely be additional events programmed, we will keep you informed, stay tuned.

Mexico Proposes Gradual Phase Out of Glyphosate

Over the past months, we have reported on our concerns regarding a global surge in movements to ban to use of glyphosate and other herbicides/pesticides. Our biggest concern is that this will translate into the imposition of very low or zero tolerances for herbicide use in imported agricultural products, including dry beans. This would create a major disruption of trade. This is happening in many countries, but as our largest single nation export market, we have kept a close eye on developments in Mexico in this regard and in particular, the use of the Precautionary Principle. The Precautionary Principle would ban the use of any product without absolute certainty that it won’t cause health problems at some point. This is not a science based risk assessment, which is why there is so much concern.

Earlier this month, as reported in the Mexican daily, Reforma, and many other news publications, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) has ordered the gradual phase out of the use of glyphosate by 2024. While this does not translate into import restrictions at this time, it is of concern as it is not inconceivable that things could evolve that way. This concern goes beyond Mexico and applies to many of our other important export markets as well, including our largest regional market, the European Union. This is an issue of critical importance to USDBC. While CODEX has been the scientific standard for acceptable MRLs (maximum residue limits), that protect both human health and don’t disrupt trade, many countries are moving away from this and becoming more restrictive. We will be putting time and resources into this issue moving into the fall with the goal of preventing any disruption of trade.
U.S. Sustainability Alliance
Promotes U.S. Farming Practices to EU Audience
A few years ago the U.S. Dry Bean Council joined the U.S. Sustainability Alliance (USSA), an initiative funded under a special grant from USDA/FAS. The Alliance is composed of 20 USDA market development cooperators and was established to minimize market access threats in the EU as demands for sustainability plans have increased. It also serves to build a narrative around U.S. products and farming practices.  Initial activities included workshops and trade shows, but have more recently transitioned to focus on a website, http://thesustainabilityalliance.us/, and communication pieces. The main target audiences in the EU were importers/customers of U.S. agricultural products as well as other associations.

In 2020, the Alliance has a number of new initiatives underway. It has redefined its primary targets to include European policy makers as well as importers/customers and other associations. European consumers will remain an important, but secondary target, reached primarily through the website. With its revised targeting, the USSA is reviewing and will make changes to its main activities, especially in light of the EU’s new Farm to Fork and Green Deal strategies.

Sustainability developments in the EU and elsewhere are disseminated to U.S. stakeholders via a monthly newsletter and regular emails. Members also have an opportunity to hear notable speakers, such as Jack Bobo, CEO of Futility and Rose O’Donovan, Editor of Brussels-based AgriFacts, via monthly conference calls. On most calls, a U.S. cooperator also shares its sustainability goals and messaging with other USSA members and members of the target audience. USDBC is gathering information via these calls to develop its own sustainability strategy, goals, and messaging in the near future. Development of a USDBC specific sustainability statement will be a priority in early 2021.
USSA website and member list
New Top Chef Campaign for Dry Beans
Launches in Colombia
Colombia is one of the most exciting market prospects for the U.S. dry bean industry.
A free trade agreement allowing for preferential import duties and a strong culture of bean consumption translate to tremendous potential. The primary factors influencing U.S. dry bean exports to Colombia are the size of the domestic crop and awareness of U.S. dry bean varieties and their properties. USDBC has invested significant resources in export development in Colombia and will continue to do so having built a strong in country presence with marketing expertise. Over the past year we have launched a number of new marketing initiatives to keep increasing awareness of U.S. dry beans and their health properties.

This month we launched a new campaign working with a groups of top Colombian chefs called ‘Free the power of the bean’ or ‘Libera el Poder del Frijol.' As part of this campaign, top chef influencers will increase knowledge of U.S. dry beans by developing two healthy and innovative recipes using U.S. dry beans on their own branded social media including facebook and Instagram, where they have significant followers. They will post recipes and ingredients and livestream cooking demos with U.S. dry beans along with commentary on their health benefits. The influencers will encourage their followers to then prepare dry bean dishes as part of the challenge. As we will be launching this campaign on social media, we anticipate trending all over Colombia and getting the word out on U.S. dry beans. We are very excited for this new initiative and will give you information so you can follow along and even help us trend in Colombia!

This is the latest in a series of new social media initiatives launched over the past five months, designed to increase our outreach and influence. This includes; Todo Con Frijol/Beans With Everything in Central and South America, Feijao Todo Dia/Beans all Day Long in Brazil, @superbeans_sea instagram covering Southeast Asia, and six different country specific facebook pages in Southeast Asia. We are still perfecting our USDBC app and we anticipate an expansion of Legume Chef to cover more of Europe in the remainder of 2020. Stay tuned!
Well Known Colombian Chef Alex Quessep will be part of this campaign.
SAVE THE DATE - Stay Tuned for Updates
BeanCon21 is the first of its kind global conference on everything beans with a strong focus on innovation. A one stop shop for buyers and sellers.
Join us March 2 - 4, 2021 at the Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.
For More info please log on to www.beancon21.com
September 2020 Virtual
Caribbean Trade Mission

September 28 - 30, 2020

November, 2020 Virtual
Colombia, Panama Trade Mission

December, 2020 Virtual
Central America Trade Mission

December 9 - 11, 2020