News / Economy

Starbucks to Sell Home-grown Coffee to Colombians

FILE - A customer reaches out for a Starbucks beverage at the new Starbucks coffee store in San Jose, Costa Rica, June 20, 2012.
FILE - A customer reaches out for a Starbucks beverage at the new Starbucks coffee store in San Jose, Costa Rica, June 20, 2012.
Reuters
Starbucks Coffee Company, which has exported coffee beans from Colombia for more than four decades, plans to open its first cafe in the Andean country in 2014 and serve only locally-grown coffee.
 
The world's biggest coffee chain hopes to open at least 50 coffee shops in cities across Colombia in the next five years, starting in the capital Bogota.
 
The announcement by the Seattle based-firm coincided with protests by local coffee growers who are demanding the government provide more aid to counter low global prices and cheap imports hitting the world's biggest producer of washed arabica beans.
 
Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks during a news conference at a hotel in Bogota, Aug. 26, 2013.Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks during a news conference at a hotel in Bogota, Aug. 26, 2013.
x
Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks during a news conference at a hotel in Bogota, Aug. 26, 2013.
Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz speaks during a news conference at a hotel in Bogota, Aug. 26, 2013.
“We've had great success in Latin American and it's well overdue for us to open up in Colombia,” Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz told Reuters in an interview, adding that he hoped to open at least six stores in the first year.
 
A military crackdown on drug-funded insurgent groups has made Colombia more attractive to foreign firms once fearful of investing in the nation when the conflict between Marxist FARC rebels and the government was at its height.
 
In addition to opening stores, Starbucks said it would partner with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and invest a joint $3 million in a plan to help 25,000 farmers in conflict-hit areas of Colombia increase coffee yields.
 
Starbucks' new coffee shops will be run by a joint venture between Mexican restaurant firm Alsea, which operates more than 500 Starbucks stores in Latin America, and Colcafe, a subsidiary of Grupo Nutresa, the fourth-largest Colombian food company.
 
Colcafe helped Starbucks develop Via, its instant coffee product, launched in 2008. The Via manufacturing business, Starbucks' only roasting facility in Colombia, will be expanded to roast espresso blends and packaged coffee for sale in the country.
 
“We want to sell Colombian coffee in Colombia,” said Craig Russell, Starbucks' senior vice president of global coffee.
 
The USAID-Starbucks program will be directed at farmers in Antioquia, Tolima, Huila and Cauca, rich coffee-growing areas where there is still a FARC presence.
 
A major aim of the initiative is to reduce “extreme poverty, which is still a reality for almost all of these small-scale coffee growers that have barely one hectare (2.5 acres) of land,” said USAID chief Raj Shah.
 
Carlos Piedrahita, head of Nutresa, said Starbucks' entrance into Colombia's coffee shop market would mean investment and jobs.
 
“This means more demand for our national produce,” said Piedrahita, speaking at a press conference in Bogota alongside Schultz.
 
Starbucks said its research suggests the cost of the chain's beverages, known for being relatively expensive around the world, won't deter consumers. The company declined to reveal its Colombia pricing, citing competitiveness.
 
Schultz said Starbucks would not undercut the country's farmer-owned Juan Valdez chain and probably charge a little more to create Starbucks “home-from-home” lounge environment. He emphasized the company wanted to make a “respectful” entry into a country that has been a key coffee supplier for many years.

You May Like

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

UN Tackles Illicit Wildlife Poaching Amid Cecil the Lion Uproar

The 193-member General Assembly adopts its first resolution on the issue following a two-year campaign by Germany and Gabon More

Trump Tops Poll as Rivals Battle to Make Debate

Donald Trump jumps into a big lead in Republican presidential race, according to latest poll More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.9066
JPY
USD
123.75
GBP
USD
0.6394
CAD
USD
1.2954
INR
USD
63.904

Rates may not be current.