Washington D.C. - The Cuba Study Group partnered with a team of four MBA students (Laura Araujo, Emily Lagnado, Tyler Michael Sanchez, and Juan Valdés) from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management to produce a White Paper analyzing the Cuban coffee sector’s export potential to the United States. The students conducted extensive library, expert interview, and in-country research focusing on independent farmers and agricultural cooperatives, rather than the state-controlled coffee sector.

The study provides a comprehensive overview of the Cuban coffee sector’s value chain, production capabilities, and structural weaknesses. It then describes efforts taken by four other coffee-exporting countries (Jamaica, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia) to increase their coffee exports’ quality, global market share, and dissemination of profits and other benefits to farmers. Lessons learned from these case studies are then made applicable to Cuba’s own coffee exporting potential. Finally, the White Paper enumerates several suggestions the Cuban government could implement within the short-term to improve coffee awareness and consumption among the growing number of tourists visiting the country. All recommendations are depicted within the context of the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba and the obstacles it presents to greater trade and cooperation between the two countries.

This study is part of an on-going collaboration between the Cuba Study Group and the Kellogg School of Management’s Risk Lab. It was jointly supervised by Clinical Professor Russell Walker, Ph.D. and Andrew Otazo, CSG Executive Director.



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