World

Puerto Rico Desperately Seeks Workers

A Starbucks barrista is seen holding coffee at a Starbucks in Hillsboro, Ore, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005.  Consumers' appetite for Starbucks Corp.'s lattes and other delicacies continued to grow in the company's fiscal fourth quarter, pushing earnings up 21 percent.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

A Starbucks barrista is seen holding coffee at a Starbucks in Hillsboro, Ore, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005. Consumers' appetite for Starbucks Corp.'s lattes and other delicacies continued to grow in the company's fiscal fourth quarter, pushing earnings up 21 percent. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Puerto Rico is conscripting prisoners and juvenile delinquents and the unemployed in order to salvage this year’s coffee crop. In the past, coffee from the island was a luxury product consumed by European royalty and the Vatican.

Today, despite a 17% unemployment rate—higher than any state in the United States—Puerto Rican coffee growers are facing great difficulties finding workers for the harvest.

Puerto Rico’s Secretary of Agriculture, Javier Rivera, warns that Puerto Rico could lose up to 30% of this year’s coffee harvest due to the lack of workers.

14,000 workers are needed to harvest the coffee beans in the central and western regions of the country. Only half that number have signed up.

Coffee exports earned Puerto Rico 35 million dollars last year.

Translation by FoxNewsLatino.com. To read the full report click here.