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Starbucks to help local coffee, dairy farmers

Thursday, July 27, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica – Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Karl Samuda is assuring coffee farmers and the dairy industry that the introduction of US chain Starbucks to Jamaica will be good for both local industries.

Starbucks is expected to open its first store on the island in Montego Bay, St James later in the year. The company and local licensee Caribbean Coffee Baristas Limited (CCB) have plans to roll out a further 14 stores in Jamaica by 2020.

According to a release from the ministry, Samuda met with representatives from Starbucks and CCB in Montego Bay last week to discuss the roll-out and the company's plans for local coffee farmers, building on the US company's history of sourcing coffee from Jamaica for more than 40 years.

During that meeting Starbucks representatives acknowledged the high quality of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee and committed to working with local coffee farmers to implement systems to increase productivity and yields, while also increasing compliance to international standards.

“I am impressed with the company's commitment to the wellbeing of local farmers. They have told us that they will be working with not just the farmers who supply them, but the wider coffee farming community,” said Samuda.

The company currently sells Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee as a “Starbucks Reserve” product, which, due to limited supply, is only available for a few months of the year in 2,000 of Starbucks' high-end locations in the US and Canada.

Samuda noted that the island's dairy farmers will also benefit from the investment as the company buys more milk than coffee.

“Starbucks has also committed to using locally made furniture in its stores, so this really is a win-win situation all around. It's great for Jamaica and it's great for Starbucks,” said Samuda.

Speaking following the meeting, Ross Goldstein, director for Starbucks operations in the Caribbean, said the company is excited about expanding its operations to Jamaica.

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