7 October 1999
Coffee smuggling up In Honduras

LOW coffee prices has led to widescale smuggling by growers in Honduras, reports the Financial Times.

The countrys coffee trades at a market discount because the quality of its exports has not been as high as its coffee-producing neighbours.

Some 15% of production is estimated to be smuggled across the border to be passed off as Guatemala coffee.

Prices are so depressed this year that may growers around Copan will not bother to harvest the first cherries of the season which are the poorer quality.

Financing is another problem for the growers in the South American state.

Banks are reluctant to lend to the industry after the bankruptcy of several regional coffee exporters last year.