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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9008
    JPY
    USD
    116.30
    GBP
    USD
    0.6957
    CAD
    USD
    1.3951
    INR
    USD
    68.033

    Rates may not be current.