Supporting Farmers and Their Communities
Responsibly grown, ethically traded coffee means working with farmers to produce coffee in ways that help provide benefits to their business, their communities and the environment.
Our long-term success is linked to the success of the thousands of farmers who grow our coffee. That’s why we invest in loan programs for coffee-growing communities and work onsite with farmers to help improve coffee quality. It’s not just the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do for our business. By helping to sustain coffee farmers and strengthen farming communities, we ensure a healthy supply of high-quality coffee going forward.
We plan to increase our farmer loan commitment to $20 million by 2015 and provide farmers with incentives to reduce the environmental impact of coffee production.
What We've Been Doing
Starbucks has established Farmer Support Centres in Costa Rica and Rwanda to provide local farmers with resources and expertise to help lower the cost of production, reduce fungus infections, improve coffee quality and increase the production of premium coffee.
Locations of Starbucks Farmer Support Centers:
- San Jose, Costa Rica – opened 2004
- The agronomists cover Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, Guatemala, Mexico, South America and China.
- Kigali, Rwanda – opened 2009
- Mbeya, Tanzania – started ground operations in 2011
- New South America location – opening in 2012
- Yunnan, China – opening in 2012
During the growing and harvest cycles, many coffee farmers dip into their modest reserves to cover expenses until they can sell their crops. Some farmers may even experience a cash shortage, prompting them to sell their crops early – and for less – to local buyers.
The Starbucks Farmer Loans program is an alternative for co-ops that cannot access traditional funding channels. It aims to provide financial resources to cooperatives to fulfill their cash flow needs during harvest time, and to make infrastructure investments that result in better competitiveness.
In FY11, over 45,000 farmers in seven countries benefitted from our work with the third-party organizations ROOT Capital, Verde Ventures and Calvert Foundation. We’ve set a goal to dispurse U.S. $20 million to these programs by 2015. We’ve provided $14 million so far, and are working hard towards delivering the rest.