“We’re All Going to Need More Coffee”

Farmer Support Centers elevate quality of life, productivity

June 8, 2016
HOME Farm to Cup “We’re All Going to Need More Coffee”

From coffee rust to changes in climate conditions, coffee farmers around the world face sustainability and coffee quality challenges. That’s why Starbucks is committed to sharing research and best practices with growers — whether they sell to us or not.

Starbucks currently operates seven Farmer Support Centers in key coffee-producing countries including Colombia, Rwanda and China. Farmers have access to the latest findings from our agronomists, including new types of disease-resistant trees and soil management techniques.

"We want to get the farmers’ productivity and quality up," said Chris von Zastrow, Starbucks director of farmer support centers.

We launched our first Farmer Support Center in San Jose, Costa Rica in 2004. This year, our latest Farmer Support Center opened in Sumatra to help the coffee industry on this remote Indonesian island.

"The purpose of Farmer Support Centers is to elevate the quality of life for coffee farmers through sustainable quality levels and productivity," said Tovan Marhennata, an agronomist at the Sumatra Farmer Support Center.

According to Colman Cuff, Starbucks Coffee Trading Company managing director, the amount of land that’s under production for coffee today is the same amount of land that will be under production in the future.

"The best advice that Starbucks can give a farmer is how to make their farm more productive. How do they turn it from an underproducing farm into an overproducing farm?" Cuff said.

According to von Zastrow, we’re helping the coffee industry through our Farmer Support Centers, not just the farmers who sell coffee to Starbucks.

"Some farmers, some groups might feel that because we’re Starbucks, all we’re interested in is getting the coffee from them, whereas actually we’re just looking to improve the quality and the yields across the board," von Zastrow said. "We gain from that and so does the competition. But when we look 20 years down the road, we’re all going to need more coffee."

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