Starbucks announced that it will increase its investments in agronomy and technology training for the next generation of Colombian coffee farmers, building on four decades of sourcing, roasting, and serving Colombian coffee internationally. Through a new smallholder farmer loan programme with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) aimed at a women-led coffee cooperative and an expanded partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) aimed at helping young coffee farmers in post-conflict zones build greater resilience and expertise, Starbucks will help create opportunities in some of Colombia’s most vulnerable coffee-growing communities.
Both partnerships will advance the work of the Starbucks Farmer Support Center in Manizales, which the company opened in 2012 to help farmers connect with trained agronomists and technical assistance, and expand its C.A.F.E. Practices programme, which was developed with Conservation International more than 15 years ago. Each of these initiatives is a component of the company’s comprehensive approach to ethical sourcing, an open-source programme that supports industry efforts to make coffee the world’s first sustainable agricultural product and to improve the lives of millions of coffee farmers, families, and workers.
There is a significant opportunity to support the next generation of coffee farmers in new ways, says Kelly Goodejohn, director of Starbucks’ ethical sourcing programmes. “While we have always worked with the Colombian coffee community to ensure access to the tools and information they need to maintain and grow successful businesses, there is a significant opportunity to support the next generation of coffee farmers in new ways,” she says. “By partnering with organisations such as USAID and IDB, as well as the Colombian government and the FNC, we can be even more deliberate in ensuring that young men and women have access to more advanced technology and financial aid to secure a future for their families for future generations”
Roberto Vélez, president of the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, says, “We support efforts like those Starbucks is making in Colombia to work with farmers to advance sustainability, especially in post-conflict areas where it is most needed.” Starbucks’ work with young farmers complements the FNC’s efforts and enables us to scale our impact and reach for future generations.