SAMPLE PRICE FORMULA
FOR SMALLHOLDER GREEN BEAN PRODUCTION
at which the contracting Company agrees to buy the Smallholder's (Farmer's)
beans is determined as follows:
A minimum price per kg green beans of acceptable quality is announced
by the Company at least one month before the start of the coming planting
This price is calculated as follows:
The average cost of production for cultivating 1 ha of green beans in
the area in question is determined by the Company in consultation with
representatives of the Farmers' Group. The production costs are based
on the recorded experience of contracted smallholders who grew green
beans in the previous season, and include:
the cost of all materials used for cultivating 1 ha of beans (seed,
fertilizer, agro-chemicals, fuel, depreciation on cultivation equipment,
harvesting equipment and materials);
(ii) the total value of the labour required through the season for
all operations, charged at the opportunity cost of household labour
in the area (usually equivalent approximately to the cost of hired
labour in the local informal agricultural sector).
The total cost of production is divided by the average yield of green
beans from 1 ha achieved by contracted farmers in the previous season.
The resulting figure is the absolute minimum price which the farmer
must receive to cover the costs of production, without allowing for
any profit margin or return on fixed investments (especially land).
The base price (minimum price) is adjusted as follows:
A minimum profit margin equivalent to approximately 25% of the cost
of production is added. This profit margin must be set at a level which
attracts farmers to grow green beans and sell them to the company, rather
than apply their land and labour to alternative enterprises or sell
their products in alternative markets. (If there are attractive alternative
income-earning opportunities which farmers can take up, the minimum
profit margin for green beans may need to be set at a higher level.
The open market prices for green beans and for competing commodities
- if such prices exist in the area - are useful pointers to the minimum
profit margin which is required to attract and retain green bean growers).
A quality bonus of 10% of the adjusted base price is added for extra
fine beans (linked to the 10% premium which such beans realize in the
A levy of 2% of the base price may be retained by the company in a stabilization
fund to allow for losses in storage or for losses or gains further up
the marketing chain, but it must be made clear that this fund is held
in trust for the smallholders.
The adjusted base price is paid to farmers as follows:
the value of all green beans delivered by each farmer in a particular
calendar month is calculated by multiplying the kg of beans delivered
by the adjusted base price;
the costs of any inputs or services supplied to the farmer by the company
on credit are deducted; (c) the resulting net revenue due to the farmer
is paid no later than the 15th of the month following the calendar month
in which the beans were delivered to the company.
At the end of the company's financial year, when the audited accounts
have been received:
the profit realized by the company through the export of green beans
a productivity bonus linked to company profits is calculated at an appropriate
level for payment to contracted farmers;
the productivity bonus is paid to contracted farmers per kg of green
beans delivered in the previous financial year, as in incentive for
future performance and as a trust-building exercise between farmers
Operation of a price formula based on the above model depends on:
a willingness on the part of the company to accept a significant degree
of transparency in relation to its financial accounts;
open consultation between the company and farmer representatives, usually
with the help of a facilitating intermediary, throughout the process.
companies may yet be willing to enter into such an open dialogue, but
the dividends for those that do, in terms of enhanced farmer commitment
and loyalty and raised future productivity, are great. The model should
be viewed as an ideal target to be achieved over a period of time.