Coffee And Wages In Puerto Rico
July 26, 2005, 11:48 PM
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In her New York Times story titled "Coffee Growers Try to Revive a Toast of Cafe Society,” [July 24]reporter Abby Goodnough may have accidentally stumbled on the answer to finding people to do low skilled, low paying jobs.

Use monkeys instead!

Bemoaning the shortage of willing coffee bean pickers in Puerto Rico, Julio Torres, Executive Vice President of the Groupo Jimenez, the island?s leading coffee company, concluded,

“Maybe they can train monkeys to do it.”

I?m not sure that Puerto Rico is trying that hard to find pickers.

As an American commonwealth, Puerto Rico must pay at least minimum wage.

And since the unemployment rate in Puerto Rico stands at 12%, willing workers should be available if the hourly wage were increased to reflect the hard work entailed.

With a nearly $18 retail price differential between the highest grade of Puerto Rican coffee Yauco Selecto at $11.25 per pound and Jamaican Blue Mountain at $29, it appears that there is room to pay more to the pickers and pass the increased costs onto the consumer.

If you have been in a Starbucks lately, you know that demand for expensive coffee is not diminished by astronomical prices.