SEATTLE, Washington — While Chinese New Year in 2018 was celebrated with traditional festivities, the day also marked the grand release of the Starbucks single-origin Yunnan coffee. The announcement of the coffee represented a culmination of the groundwork put in place by the Starbucks’ Farming Centers in Yunnan. The farming centers have been a remarkable achievement in Yunnan as they have expanded local jobs, raised levels of farming education and stimulated community development.
A Solution to Yunnan’s Coffee Dilemma
Yunnan has long been a capital of fermented teas and has been evolving into the coffee capital of Asia. The Yunnan region grows 95% of the entire Chinese coffee supply, which is why Starbucks’ plan to develop the regional practices of farmers is a strategic move. However, Yunnan farmers have to deal with fluctuating market prices, lack of full production knowledge and environmental changes that often make the work unstable. Starbucks’ relationship with the farmers of Yunnan has provided solutions to many of these problems and also led to a major expansion in local jobs.
Starbucks has committed to training 50,000 farmers in Yunnan by 2023. To date, Starbucks’ farming centers in Yunnan have trained 17,000 farmers. The increase in farming quality from the region will create high economic growth. This training allows more people to be qualified for farming jobs and the development of new farming centers. Each farming center will offer a sustainable supply of quality coffee, increasing job security.
Improving Coffee Cultivation
Farming education is critical in building trusted relationships with buyers and maintaining high levels of income. Starbucks has provided invaluable information to the farmers in the region that is specific to coffee growth. Prior to Starbucks’ support, Yunnan coffee growers would have somewhat mixed quality batches, which was detrimental to their ability to sell coffee. Higher standards were implemented by the establishment of Coffee and Farm Equity, or C.A.F.E. The program educates farmers on crucial farming tools, ensuring they will produce the best quality coffee while being socially and environmentally responsible.
Starbucks is committed to making the Yunnan region the most well-known for its high-quality agriculture. Some tips that Starbucks Yunnan Farmer Support Center has provided include how to fertilize crops, combat coffee tree diseases, get the best quality of coffee and determine fair prices for their labor and harvest. These new practices make the practice of farming coffee in the region more sustainable and practical.
Starbucks’ Partnership with a Local Organization
Starbucks’ farming centers in Yunnan provide thousands of families with a steady livelihood and wages, improved education in the area and solid communities. Not only has Starbucks created a strong relationship with Yunnan citizens, but they have also committed to giving back to show their appreciation for Yunnan workers. In addition, Starbucks has given a $500,000 grant to the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation. Key elements of Starbucks’ plan to give back are improving education and increasing healthcare access for 6,000 children across 30 villages. In addition to building schools, CPFA has offered supplemental education activities and free regular physical examinations. Education access is known to be one of the primary ways to break the cycle of poverty, making Starbucks’ contributions all the more impactful for the region.
The partnership with CPFA also ensures free access to custom soil, fertilizer, irrigation, processing facilities and other coffee industry improvements. The access to these materials will be transformative to coffee growing in Yunnan. Relieving poverty in Yunnan will go hand in hand with the ability of the region to become the premier coffee-producing region globally. By creating community growth, Starbucks’ farming centers in Yunnan have paved the way for a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship in future years.
Starbucks, a global coffee giant, is taking responsibility and trying to improve the conditions of Yunnan farmers. Farming centers have resulted in better wages, training, jobs, schooling and healthcare for locals. Starbucks and China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation’s collaboration toward improving the livelihoods of farmers. From 2012 to now, major milestones have proved the success of coffee farming in the region. Not only that, but Starbucks is displaying the need for major companies to have more ethical, socially moral and environmentally friendly practices. The creation of Starbucks’ farming centers in Yunnan has shown concrete evidence that investing in local farmers can improve lives and produce cost-effective results for major companies.
– Eva Pound