Starbucks is launching its first espresso branded with a place of origin – undeterred by the fact that Guatemala, home of the new “cocoa and baked spices” brew has declared a state of agricultural emergency because of rampant coffee tree fungus.
Guatemala’s blighted crops and 275,000 coffee farmers stand in sharp contrast to the pomp surrounding Monday’s launch of the Guatemala Antigua, the first time Starbuck’s customers anywhere will have a choice of bean for their drink. Continue reading »
Mother Nature has dealt Central America a lousy hand. Earthquakes, floods and hurricanes of biblical proportions have battered the isthmus over the years, but the latest natural disaster is a botanical one.
A plague known as “coffee rust” has hit the region’s top-quality arabica crop. Premium blends from coffee grown in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama are much loved by aficionados. Continue reading »
Bancolombia, the Andean country’s biggest individual bank, is still thinking big.
Its Panamanian affiliate has reached a deal to buy a 40 per cent stake in Grupo Financiero Agromercantil, or GFA, owner several banking and financial institutions in Guatemala.
“The negotiation of the Grupo Financiero Agromercantil is essential to continue our international growth plan. The Central American financial sector has evolved significantly in recent years,” said Carlos Raúl Yepes, Bancolombia’s president. Continue reading »
A cardamom war appears to be brewing. Producers in the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu claim that they face unfair competition from illegal imports of the spice from the world’s biggest exporter, which is – wait for it! – Guatemala, in Central America.
Cardamom smugglers are bringing the spice into northern India through Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, say the Tamil Nadu and Kerala producers. Now the producers have sent missives to the Indian ministries of trade and agriculture in defense of what they describe as a “heritage crop” of the nation. Continue reading »
There’s gold in them thar Central American hills. Gold and several other valuable minerals. Mining companies, especially Canadian, are courting the region yet most of the governments are playing hard to get, if not being openly hostile.
All of which must be pretty perplexing to at least some of the companies. World prices of metals remain high while Central American economies are some of the world’s most vulnerable. Surely a slam-dunk for the miners? Continue reading »
Among the hardscrabble nations of Central America, renewable energy involves no high-falutin’ principles. It is an essential weapon in a battle for survival as well as a hope for prosperity in some of the frailest economies of the Americas. Continue reading »
By Ronald Buchanan and Pan Kwan Yuk
Guatemala, a Central American country with a population of 13m, is not exactly a hotbed of private equity activities.
So news that Actis, a London-based emerging markets private equity firm, has struck a multimillion-dollar deal to acquire Guatemalan energy assets, had beyondbrics sit up and take notice. Continue reading »