Starbucks Coffee, which has exported coffee beans from Colombia for more than four decades, plans to open its first café in the Andean country in 2014 and serve only locally-grown coffee.

The world's biggest coffee chain hopes to open at least 50 coffee shops in cities across Colombia in the next five years, starting in the capital Bogota.

The announcement by the Seattle based-firm coincided with protests by local coffee growers who are demanding the government provide more aid to counter low global prices and cheap imports hitting the world's biggest producer of washed arabica beans.

"I would be disappointed if after 5 years we didn't have at least 50 stores," Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz told a news conference in Bogota.

"I think we are buying close to 90 million pounds of coffee today and that's the most we have bought in our history. A lot of that is due to the growth and development of the company but is also because Colombian coffee today, and this is truth for the last 10 or 20 years, has been either 1, 2 or 3 in terms of strategic importance in volume and we are buying coffee from about 25 producing countries over the last 40 years," he added.

In addition to opening stores, Starbucks said it would partner with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and invest a joint $3 million (£1.9 million) in a plan to help 25,000 farmers in conflict-hit areas of Colombia to increase coffee yields.

Starbucks' new coffee shops will be run by a joint venture between Mexican restaurant firm Alsea, which operates more than 500 Starbucks stores in Latin America, and Colcafe, a subsidiary of Grupo Nutresa, the fourth-largest Colombian food company.

Colcafe helped Starbucks develop Via, its instant coffee product, launched in 2008. The Via manufacturing business, Starbucks' only roasting facility in Colombia, will be expanded to roast espresso blends and packaged coffee for sale in the country.

The USAID-Starbucks program will be directed at farmers in rich coffee-growing areas where there is still a FARC presence.

Starbucks said its research suggests the cost of the chain's beverages, known for being relatively expensive around the world, won't deter consumers. The company declined to reveal its Colombia pricing, citing competitiveness.

Schultz said Starbucks would not undercut the country's farmer-owned Juan Valdez chain and probably charge a little more to create Starbucks "home-from-home" lounge environment. He emphasised the company wanted to make a "respectful" entry into a country that has been a key coffee supplier for many years.

Presented by Adam Justice