HAVANA TIMES — A former British MP and Treasury Minister has made a deal to invest in Cuban coffee farming, reports the Telegraph on Thursday.
With his Cuba Mountain Coffee Company, Businessman Phillip Oppenheim will invest some US $4 million over five years in a coffee growing community in southeastern Cuba.
Cuba’s coffee production has suffered a sharp decline over decades. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization the total number of hectares where coffee is harvested in Cuba fell from 170,000 in 1961 to 26,935 in 2011.
Oppenheim said his investment in coffee tree nurseries, to renovate plantations, and in the post-harvest pulping process, “will improve the quality and the quantity of the coffee produced.”
The former minister owns a Cuba-themed bar near Waterloo in London. “I buy rum and raw sugar from Cuba for the bar,” he told the Telegraph. “It’s a small country, so you get to know people.”
The deal enabling the investment was possible under the economic liberalization taking place with the reforms being implemented by the Castro administration. Oppenheim said the agreement shows that Cuba is becoming a new market for entrepreneurs.