As the largest purchaser of high quality Colombian coffee, Starbucks has spent over forty years building relationships with farmers throughout Colombia. Around the world, we proudly serve Colombian coffee as a single origin coffee, in many of our blends, and feature Colombian coffee as part of our Special Reserve program which brings the world’s most exquisite small lot coffees to the global spotlight. At the heart of this success, are smallholder farmers who for generations have cultivated a vibrant coffee industry and culture. We are very proud to expand support for smallholder farmers with the tools and resources they need to maximize productivity and deliver the quality that has made Colombian coffee famous.
Today is another important step in our ongoing commitment to Colombia. Starbucks and USAID just announced an innovative new public-private partnership to help increase Colombian coffee yields and enhance livelihoods of Colombian farmers. Building on the long history of the FNC (Colombia’s Coffee Federation), this $3 million commitment over three years will come in the form of technical assistance from our Farmer Support Center in Manizales to deliver training and agronomy support to farmers in some of the most vulnerable regions. Together, USAID and Starbucks have the opportunity to scale the impact of this investment and reach an additional 25,000 farmers across the region. We call that using our scale for good – a recognition that our global footprint offers opportunities to reach out and have a positive impact on the one million people around the world in our coffee supply chain.
With access to the right information and tools about responsible growing practices, we believe farmers will be able to improve their farming capabilities and business acumen to become more resilient in the long run. Specifically, we’ll be able to expand the delivery of a soil and foliar analysis tool, one that has repeatedly proven to dramatically improve yields and reduce farmer input expenses. Farmers that didn’t previously have access to this information will now have tools to become more productive. We expect this positive impact to reverberate across our Colombian coffee supply chain.
While nearly all of the coffee Starbucks purchases from Colombia is verified under our buying program, C.A.F.E. Practices (Coffee and Farmer Equity), our partnership with USAID will allow us to significantly expand our ethical sourcing efforts in the country. We’re proud to work with USAID, an organization that shares our vision for improved farmer livelihood in Colombia and has the expertise and track record to take this program to vulnerable communities throughout the region.
At Starbucks, we know the best results come when we collaborate with governments, entrepreneurs, suppliers, and nonprofit organizations at the local level to build sustainable and scalable solutions. USAID is offering companies like ours the opportunity to partner with an organization that understands what it means to work at the nexus of these issues, approaching big challenges with creative solutions. We are excited to launch this partnership in Colombia, the first of its kind, and will continue to explore opportunities in other regions as we continue our pursuit of high-quality, ethically sourced coffee.